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Three-hour rule and familiar-face criterion in childcare to change

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versieEffective date: 1 July 2023

What has changed?

Do you work in childcare (day care or out-of-school care)? The government has relaxed the Quality of Childcare Decree (Besluit kwaliteit kinderopvang). This change regards the three-hour rule and the familiar-face criterion. In practice, the rules were too tight in combination with the present staffing shortages and workload.

Changes to the three-hour rule

  • Day care facilities (nurseries) are now allowed to deviate from the professional childcarer-child ratio (Beroepskracht-kind ratio, BRK) for 3 hours. This will not change. However, you will no longer have to record beforehand in your pedagogical policy plan at exactly which times this happens.
  • The pedagogical policy plan describes the regular staff shifts and frameworks for the three-hour rule (how will management deal with group allocation and staff resources, in which situations will be deviated from the childcarer-child ratio, and how will the needs of the child be attended to when fewer professionals are deployed?).
  • Also, childcare centres must be able to provide current rosters of professionals (with break times) and attendance lists of children (with arrival and departure times). This allows the Municipal Health Service (GGD) to verify whether a child centre deviates from the childcarer-child ratio for no more than three hours per day.

Changes to the familiar-face criterion

  • Depending on the age of the child and the size of the core childcare group each child will be assigned a number of 'familiar faces'. Each day a child is present, one of these familiar faces must also be present.
  • Child centres will be able to deviate temporarily from the familiar-face criterion. They will be allowed to do so, for instance during periods of illness, leave, or holidays of 1 or more familiar faces. This way a different professional than the 'familiar face' can be deployed during such periods.
  • There will be a number of conditions for childcare centres to be allowed to deviate from this criterion. These conditions are meant to guarantee the safety and stability for the children.

For whom?

  • childcare centres, both day care centres such as nurseries as well as out-of-school care


This change in the Quality of Childcare Decree (Besluit kwaliteit kinderopvang) has entered into effect on 1 July 2023.

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