Free daycare for all children at French schools

French schools are being urged to provide free daycare for all children up to three, under changes to boost entitlement after a wave of children arrived on the edge of Paris, Reuters reports.

Government representatives are meeting headteachers next week to discuss the proposals, which have also been sent to parents.

The rule change comes after some 260,000 migrant children arrived in France since 2015, many of them unaccompanied. Those children tend to be placed in state-run daycare centers and many are subsequently denied French citizenship.

“There’s not enough staff to cover the numbers, and even if there are rules that say two days off a week are acceptable, the state could guarantee care that’s better,” Francoise Delvers, a lecturer in childcare at the University of Luxembourg, told Reuters.

The effort is led by Maria Viljer with the cross-party bureaueurs-insoumises, or inspectors-in-charge, a nongovernmental group of child-care specialists. The idea is to create a situation where children with special needs can also be offered daycare.

Housing costs are also an issue for daycare centers. Parents have had difficulty finding places as housing projects in Paris have become overcrowded, placing pressure on facilities.

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