Legislation on early childhood education and care

lakikirjoja. KUVA: OKMThe page contains a list of key acts and decrees on early childhood education and care (ECEC).

The amendment (580/2015) that changed the name of the Children's Day Care Act (36/1973) to the Early Childhood Education and Care Act entered into force on 1 August 2015. Early childhood education and care now replaces the term daycare. Early childhood education and care belongs to education and teaching services, and is under the mandate of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Early Childhood Education and Care Act (36/1973):
The Early Childhood Education and Care Act applies to early childhood education and care (ECEC) provided by municipalities, joint municipal authorities and another service providers and organised in ECEC centres, family daycare or in other forms of early childhood education and care.

Decree on Children's Day Care (239/1973):
The decree contains provisions on how applications are processed, when you can apply for early childhood education and care and on the ratio of care and education staff to children, for instance.

Basic Education Act (628/1998):
The Act gives provisions on pre-primary education, on basic education and on morning and afternoon activities, for example.

Act on Private Social Services (922/2011):
The Act includes provisions on matters such as permits, notices and supervision related to organising early childhood education and care. (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)

Statutes on fees, financial aid and services

Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients (812/2000):
The purpose of this Act is to promote customer-oriented services and the confidentiality of the client relationship, and the client's right to good service and treatment. (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)

Act on Client Fees in Early Childhood Education and Care (1503/2016):
The Act contains provisions on how the client fees charged for early childhood education and care are determined, the monthly fee and income thresholds, as well as the maximum fee charged by local authorities. The Act includes provisions on the income that the fee is based on as well as the conditions for not charging a fee or charging a lower fee.

Child Home Care and Private Day Care Allowance Act (1128/1996):
The Act provides on the right of parents with children under school age to receive financial aid in place of early childhood education and care, so they can organise care for their child in ways other than those provided in municipal early childhood education and care. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the central government level tasks related to home care allowances and private daycare allowances. (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)  

Statutes related to the staff

Teaching Qualifications Decree (986/1998):
The Decree provides on the required qualifications of teaching staff, such as staff who provide pre-primary care.

Act on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (272/2005) and Decree on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (608/2005):
Parts of the repealed Act, for instance those on the qualifications of kindergarten teachers and other early childhood education and care personnel will continue to be applied in early childhood education. The Decree includes more detailed provisions on the qualifications of special needs kindergarten teachers.

Act on Checking the Criminal Background of Persons Working with Children (504/2002):
The Act requires that persons working with children show their employer an extract of their criminal records for the purposes of their employment. (Ministry of Justice)

Child Welfare Act (417/2007):
The Act contains provisions on child-specific and family-specific child welfare as well as preventative child welfare. The Act comprises provisions for developing services to support growth and education. It includes provisions on the statutory duty of social welfare and healthcare personnel, teaching staff and certain other authorities to file child welfare notifications and to report offences. (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)

Statutes related to the financing of early childhood education and care

Act on Central Government Transfers to Local Government for Basic Public Services (1704/2009):
The Act applies to central government transfers granted for operating costs for the tasks and duties of local government laid down in the Basic Education Act and in the Early Childhood Education and Care Act, for instance.  (Ministry of Finance)

The Act on the Financing of Educational and Cultural Provision (1705/2009) and Decree on the Financing of the Educational and Cultural Provision 1766/2009:
The Act and the Decree lay down provisions for instance on central government transfers and grants for activities as referred to in the Basic Education Act.

Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (688/2001):
The Act lays down provisions on the criteria and procedures that apply when granting discretionary government transfers and grants for activities or projects. (Ministry of Finance)

Contact information

Tarja Kahiluoto, neuvotteleva virkamies 
OKM, Yleissivistävän koulutuksen ja varhaiskasvatuksen osasto, Yleissivistävän koulutuksen ja varhaiskasvatuksen vastuualue 0295330386  


Kirsi Alila, Opetusneuvos 
OKM, Yleissivistävän koulutuksen ja varhaiskasvatuksen osasto, Yleissivistävän koulutuksen ja varhaiskasvatuksen vastuualue 0295330365