Swedish millions to fund nighttime childcare

The government has put aside 108 million kronor ($16.3 million) to support having childcare facilities open during nights and weekends, a scheme that will come into effect in 2013 and last for three years.

“Working life is changing and many people are working evenings, weekends and nights,” said Nyamko Sabuni, the minister in charge of pre-schooling, to the TT news agency.

“Families can’t always combine work and family life. It can be especially difficult for single mothers.”

According to the plan, municipalities can apply for the incentive from July 1st in 2013, a year which will see 15.5 million kronor invested into the programme, with 31 million set aside for each of the following three years.

The current laws state that it is not mandatory for municipalities to provide childcare during “inconvenient times”. However, as many municipalities did not offer the service at all, a stimulus package was put forward to the Riksdag last spring.

At the time, the parties of the governing centre-right Alliance government voted against the plan, stating that proof was needed of a more urgent need for the increase in opening hours, something that hasn’t come until now.

However, the measure nevertheless passed, leading to today’s announcement by Sabuni.

Per-Arne Andersson, who deals with labour market issues at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) is satisfied with the news.

“This is better than nothing, and a way for the government to speed up the development. There are now more than half of the municipalities offering childcare at inconvenient times,” he told TT.

So far the expansion of preschools offering inconvenient-hour services has been quite slow.

But this year around 30 municipalities have been added to the group offering childcare in the evenings, nights and weekends, according to a former TT poll.

Another dozen are discussing or have firm plans for the schooling.

TT/The Local/og

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Swedish daycare worker jailed for child sex abuse

A Swedish court on Friday sentenced a male daycare (dagis) worker to six and a half years in prison for four cases of rape and 20 cases of sexual assault against toddlers aged one to three in his charge.

Swedish daycare worker jailed for child sex abuse
The assaults took place at eight of the daycares where the man worked from March 2014 until June 2015. Photo: Victor Lundberg / TT

The 40-year-old man, who worked at 40 different daycares in the southern municipality of Kristianstad as a temp agency employee, pleaded guilty to the charges, a statement from the Kristianstad district court said.

The assaults took place at eight of the daycares where he worked from March 2014 until June 2015.

“The man sexually abused several girls during diaper changes. The girls were between one and three years old. The 40-year-old, documented the abuses himself with his mobile phone camera,” the court said.

“The crimes are considered aggravated because of the way he carried them out, the fact that he abused his position as a child minder, and that he abused the trust he enjoyed,” it added.

“Crimes like these are very rare,” court spokesman Markus Nilsson told the AFP news agency.

The defendant also found guilty of one charge of abusive photography and one case of aggravated child pornography for documenting the abuses and saving the photographs on his computer.

The man, whose name was not disclosed, was caught in July when he sexually abused a young girl at a theme park where he was employed.

During police interrogation he came clean about the daycare assaults and rapes.

He risked a maximum sentence of seven-and-a-half years behind bars but was given a year less than the maximum because he had collaborated with the police investigation.

The court also ordered the man to pay damages totalling 1.6 million kronor ($188,000) to his victims.