In general, you can choose any kita for your child. Our Kita-Infosystem will help you to find out about the kita and Vorschule courses in every district of Hamburg. Vorschule in Germany means a one-to-two-year programme after kindergarten to prepare children for primary school.
There are central registers for day-care facilities and workers in so-called Tagespflegebörsen at every Bezirksamt district office. This way you can get in touch directly with day-care workers and facilities (for example kitas or primary schools) to get more information on educational concepts and strategies. Please note that different day-care providers may offer their services at different times of day, so you may want to inquire about their working hours.
This online guide (German only) can help you decide which kita or Tagesmutter or Tagesvater (literally a ‘daytime mother or father’, or rather a ‘childminder’) is most suitable for your child. It will give you an overview of what a good childcare service should look like and suggest questions you can ask during a first visit.
Once you have decided on a particular kita, you should ask in person whether your child can be admitted on your date of choice. The same applies if you have opted for a childminder.
Whether or not your child can be admitted to care services is decided by the kita management, the individual childminder or, in the case of Vorschule, the school management.
If you cannot find a suitable placement for your child, the Kindertagesbetreuung (‘childrens’ day-care’) department of your district office will help you with the Platznachweisverfahren for kitas. You will have to apply for a kita voucher, which you can find more information about here.
Please note that public funding or cost reimbursement is only possible once an application has been submitted! If your child is cared for without a valid kita voucher or without a valid admission to a day-care facility, you will have to pay the entire cost yourself, including the parental contribution and other fees.
Admission fees and grants
In Hamburg, five hours of free basic childcare per day is granted to every child from their day of birth until they start school. In kitas and other day-care facilities, up to 30 hours of care service per week are free of charge.
Any further support for children in kitas or other day-care facilities are usually charged to parents or custodians in the form of Familieneigenanteile (‘family contributions’) or Teilnahmebeiträge (‘participation fees’). Since these cover less than one fifth of the actual costs, the majority of operating costs are actually financed from taxes. The amount of your family contribution depends on the specific care service offer, the duration, your income, and family size.
If more than one child in your family is receiving care, there will be a discount for the eldest child.
Families who receive certain Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz benefits, Kinderzuschlag support or Wohngeld no longer need to pay an additional parental contribution for childcare services until their child starts school. Wohngeld is a rent subsidy for those living in rented accommodations and an encumbrance subsidy for those who own property.
Families who have to get by on a very low income can also apply for a reduction of the parental contribution. You can get advice on this application from the child day-care department (Abteilung Kindertagesbetreuung) at your local district office.
Some kitas or other children’s day-care facilities may not participate in the kita voucher programme, which means that kita vouchers cannot be redeemed there. Government subsidies do not apply to these facilities, so parents or custodians have to pay the full cost themselves.
Please note that special rules may apply for Betriebskitas, which are included in larger facilities like hospitals or military facilities. Those kitas may charge different parental contributions.