Use and benefits of childcare services

About the project

Who ueses a nursery? For what reason? How do people actually choose between different forms and offers of extrafamilial childcare (nursery, child minder, day school, etc.)? Do the current childcare services match parents expectations and needs? These and other questions build the background of the research project which is carried out jointly by the Department of Sociology of Education and the youth welfare office of the city of Bern.

In the city of Bern, there are various offers of extrafamilial childcare parents can rely on to ensure the compatibility of family and employment (for an overview in German: Thereby, about 38% of all children in the city of Bern make us of one or several of these offers (Stadt Bern 2015). The child care vouchers (Betreuungsgutscheine), introduced in January 2014, as well as the increasing number of nurseries who accept them clearly indicate that there is an increasing demand for extrafamilial childcare in the city of Bern and that the political authorities took the steps to strengthen the compatibility of family and employment.


At the same time and with respect to the larger societal consequences of subsidizing extrafamilial child care, there is relatively little known about this topic - at least in terms of reliable empirical evidence. This not only bears the risk of allocating public money inefficiently but also of a further design of day care services that does not match sufficiently peoples needs and requirements. Therefore, our research project can be seen as an effort to close this gap and aims to provide answers to these open questions concerning the usage of childcare services and its consequences for the respective households. The results will (hopefully) serve as a base for the future design of day care services according to people's needs and can be used by the political authorities as well as the private providers of childcare services in the city of Bern. Consequently, your opinion is not only important to us but we also rely on it and we are happy to receive it in a standardized - in form of the questionnaire - or in an open form per e-mail or telephone at any time.

We would like to thank you for taking part in the survey and for any feedback or comments you might have.

To answer the above outlined questions we have randomly chosen 25 nurseries in the city of Bern. Within each nursery all parents got a questionaire which has the advantage of not needing any prior personal information about the parents and simultaneously reducing the time and effort for the nursery staff to a minimum (further information about data protection and privacy can be found here). As a result, somewhat more than 1000 households were selected to participate in the postal or online survey. The survey itself started in January 2016 for what reason first (descriptive) results are to be expected in spring 2016. During the time the survey takes place as well as afterwards, we would like to encourage all participants to share their thoughts, questions and ideas with us (our contact details can be found here).

A leaflet with first results was distributed to all the nurseries as well as parents who participated in the study. It can be found here (in German):

As of fall 2016, we finished our final project report with further results. It can be found here (again in German):