Children feeling the sting of daycare shortcomings
The Economic Council recently outlined the massive staff shortages in social care expected over the coming decade.
These problems have been apparent in the daycare system for years, with budget cuts and other restrictions leading to a combination of challenges including severe staff shortages and a high staff turnover.
Daycare workers in Tórshavn have been voicing their concerns about overcrowded and understaffed daycare centres for some time, but this problem is not restricted to the capital region, says pedagogy researcher Jóhannes Miðskarð.
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“The number of children per daycare worker has been on a steady rise in recent years across the country, partly due to a high staff turnover caused by various factors such as low pay for pedagogues,” he explains.
“This has a negative effect on the children as the overburdened staff feel incapable of attending to all the children’s needs, causing stress and feelings of inadequacy in the staff and feelings of neglect in the children.”
As well as causing complications in the daily activities, he goes on to explain, the lack of structure and consistency in daycares can halt the children’s development and can have a long-term negative effect on their attachment relationships.
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This is a complex problem with no easy fix, but Miðskarð suggests a few changes which may go some way toward a solution.
“We could encourage more direct parent engagement by setting up parent councils at each daycare institution,” he says.
“And then there is the more obvious solution: more political involvement, not least with higher salaries for pedagogues so that they will actually want to remain in their jobs rather than moving on to better-paid jobs outside of their field of expertise.
"Another solution, also political, would be to increase the appropriation to the child psychiatry services so that children with psychiatric problems such as autism and ADHD are not forced to stay in daycare centres when they could be better served elsewhere."
Read the Faroese version of this article here.
Translated by prosa.fo