Free care: making non-formal education accessible to all

The Chèque-service accueil (CSA)

A series of measures to make childcare more affordable for parents and to improve access for all children to quality care and non-formal education, regardless of the education and childcare facility they attend. In this way, the State contributes to greater equality of opportunity.

Parental contribution

In order to support families, the calculation of the CSA takes into account the reality of different family situations.

The amount of the State contribution (i.e., of the CSA) and the amount of the parents’ financial contribution are calculated on a case-by-case basis taking into account

  • the income of the household in which the child lives (married couples and couples living in a civil partnership or cohabiting are treated the same);
  • the number of children receiving child benefits in the household and the child’s ranking in the family group;
  • the type of facility (childcare in an education and childcare service or with a parental assistant);
  • the number of hours the child spends in the education and childcare facility;
  • specific advantages depending on the age of the child (multilingual education programme, meals and childcare partially free of charge for children subject to compulsory education).

The parental contribution scale (pdf, 31 Kb) is used to calculate the CSA rates to which parents are entitled.

Parents' financial contribution (pdf, 1366 Kb)

 

State contribution
  • The State contributes financially up to a maximum of 60 hours of care per week.
  • The maximum State contribution is 6 euros per hour for a child attending an education and childcare facility.
  • It amounts to 3.75 euros per hour for a child looked after by a parental assistant during the day (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.). For childcare during the night-time (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.), at weekends and on public holidays, the State contribution is increased by 0.50 euro/hour
  • The State contributes to 5 main meals per week (see conditions);

·         The State provides up to 20 hours of childcare in the context of multilingual education (see conditions).

Private education and childcare facilities and private mini-crèches and parental assistants are free to set their own hourly rates. However, parents are responsible for any amount exceeding the ceilings.

The calculation of the parents’ contribution is based on taxable income. Child benefits, the back-to-school allowance, childbirth allowances, financial aid and voluntary assistance granted by social welfare offices or private social welfare organisations are not taken into account.

During holiday periods and school holidays, the cost of childcare is subject to a ceiling of 100 euros per week for children not attending school, with the cost of meals coming on top of this. There is no ceiling for children subject to compulsory education (see School children: free childcare and meals during school periods).

Every month, parents receive an invoice for the childcare services their child has received. A statement can be consulted in the secure online area.

 
 
The Resource Centre of the childcare-service scheme ("Helpdesk")

The Resource Centre ("Helpdesk") is available to answer all general questions regarding the CSA scheme.

Parents and providers can contact the Helpdesk by e-mail (helpdesk@chequeservice.lu) or by phone (8002 1112, Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm).

Measures to provide free education and childcare

Children from 1 to 4 years old: 20 hours of free childcare in the context of the multilingual education programme

In order to give all children equal opportunities to access the multilingual education programme, children aged 1 to 4 years who attend an education and childcare facility that is a CSA service provider (excluding parental assistants) are entitled to 20 weekly hours of free childcare spread over 46 weeks per year.

All children aged 1 to 4 years who are not yet attending school qualify for this free service, regardless of their parents’ income. The other benefits of the CSA scheme apply as from the 21st hour of care.

Children attending early education (éducation précoce) part-time, i.e., for less than eight sessions per week, are entitled to up to 10 hours of free childcare per week by way of multilingual education (spread over 46 weeks per year).

Children attending early education full-time, i.e., for eight sessions a week, are not covered by this free measure, but enjoy the full benefits of the CSA scheme.

Introduced in October 2017 in all “young children” education and childcare services and mini-crèches, participating in the CSA scheme, the multilingual education programme familiarises children aged from 1 to 4 years with Luxembourgish and French. It is based on the findings that the earlier the child makes contact with a language, the easier it is to acquire knowledge of it.

Young children thus benefit, regardless of their parents’ income, from a high-quality educational offer that places particular emphasis on language development. Parents are supported financially during the most intensive years of their family’s development.

School children: free childcare and meals during school periods

Non-formal education and childcare facilities constitute one of the venues for social promotion which enable children to develop the essential skills to support their schooling and development. As such, childcare and midday meals (lunch) for school children are offered at no cost during school periods from 12 September 2022 onwards, regardless of the income of the household in which the child lives.

Free non formal education childcare

Free childcare applies:

  • to children subject to compulsory schooling (4 years old by September 1st), who attend primary education or its equivalent (early childhood education is not covered);
  • to all types of education and childcare facilities (maison relais, day care centres, mini-crèche and parental assistants);
  • during school periods, from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..

For the hours of childcare outside these time slots, the CSA scale is applicable for calculating the parents’ financial contribution.

During school holidays and holiday periods, education and childcare facilities apply the CSA rates. The previous ceiling of 100 euros per week is abolished for children subject to compulsory education.

Free meals

Meals are a special, convivial moment in children’s daily life which allow them to develop their independence. A healthy, balanced diet contributes to their health and well-being.

Free meals apply:

·         to children subject to compulsory schooling (4 years old by September 1st), who attend primary education or its equivalent (early childhood education is not covered);

·         to all types of education and childcare facilities (maison relais, day care centres, mini-crèche and parental assistants);

·         to school periods.

During holiday weeks, free meals are reserved for children from a household with an income below twice the minimum social wage. The CSA scale applies to meals for children from households with an income above twice the social minimum wage during school holidays.

Procedures and registration

CSA-membership contract

If you are a resident of the Grand Duchy, you can apply to the municipal administration at your place of residence to join the CSA scheme. If you are a non-resident, you can apply to the Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants (Children's Future Fund).

Membership does not exempt you from registering your children with an education and childcare facility belonging to the CSA scheme and which you may freely choose. Children are admitted depending on the availability of places and the priorities set by the education and childcare facility.

At the time of joining, you will receive a membership contract for each child setting out:

  • the applicable CSA rates for the child in question;
  • the parents’ financial contribution per main meal;
  • the duration of the membership, the date when it becomes effective and the expiry date.

You can join the CSA scheme on any day of the month. It covers the whole month and is valid for a maximum of 12 months. Parents are responsible for renewing their membership, which must be done no later than in the month when membership expires.

myCard fir Kanner

After signing up for the CSA scheme, a personalised card with the child's name on it will be sent to you.  This “myCard fir Kanner” gives you  access to the secure area of the website www.staarkkanner.lu, which offers several features and benefits:

  • the possibility to consult your monthly CSA invoices and statements;
  • involvement in the multilingual education weeks (1 to 4 years of age);
  • access to educational materials. 
Multilingual education: weeks in which free childcare does not apply

Under the multilingual education programme, there are normally six weeks in which the 20 weekly hours of free childcare do not apply.

For 2022, the default dates  are set as follows:

  1. the week of the Easter holidays, from 4 to 10 April 2022;
  2. the week of the Pentecost holidays, from 23 to 29 May 2022;
  3. the week of the summer holidays, from 25 to 31 July 2022;
  4. the week of the summer holidays, from 1 to 7 August 2022;
  5. the week of the All-Saints holiday, from 31 October to 6 November 2022;
  6. the week of the Christmas holidays, from 26 December 2022 to 1 January 2023.

You are free to change these default dates to fit your needs (e.g., your holiday dates). This change can be made at any time, as long as the billing period is not closed. Any rebilling will be based on this choice of weeks.

It is strongly recommended to place the 6 weeks when childcare is not free of charge during the school holidays, as during those weeks the price of childcare is always capped at €100/week (meals and any extras not included) for children not attending school.

You will find a video explaining how to use this feature in your CSA area.

Renewal of the myCard

Your child’s myCard remains valid until the end of his/her primary schooling, so a new card is not issued when the annual CSA contract is renewed. If you lose the card, you can go to the municipal administration or the Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants and ask for a replacement.

For questions about the “myCard”, you can click here.

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