Press briefing 25 April 2022

New agreement on the reception of displaced children and young people from Ukraine

Published 25-04-2022

Municipalities will have the opportunity to establish special offers for displaced children and young people from Ukraine and greater flexibility to organize offers in the day care and primary school area.

Hosts: Chairman of KL’s children and education committee Thomas Gyldal Petersen and Minister of Children and Education Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil.

The stories and images from Ukraine of bombed-out residential areas and people who have lost everything has made a big impression on all of us. Millions are on the run. And for many Ukrainian children and young people, our country is currently also their home.

Right now they are far from home and they do not know how long they are going to be there. Are we talking about months or years. Time perspective for children is different than for adults. For a five-year-old, half a year feels like a lifetime. It obliges us to find good solutions for both Danish and Ukrainian children and young people.

Want the best framework

We want displaced children and young people from Ukraine to have the best possible framework for being part of Danish society during the time they are here, without sacrificing their connection to the Ukrainian language, culture and identity. And we want to safeguard the welfare we offer Danish children and young people.

It is difficult to predict how many will come to Denmark from Ukraine, because war is unpredictable, but right now about 23,000 people have applied for a residence permit under the special law, including many children of daycare and school age.

It is no secret that the many displaced people from Ukraine who come to Denmark challenge the capacity in both day care and primary schools. No one benefits from day care and schools that are being closed down after too much pressure. Therefore, we must find solutions that do not impair our day care and schools for Danish children and young people. And at the same time, our Ukrainian guests provide targeted offers in the day care and primary school area.

The challenges are far from the same from municipality to municipality. Some municipalities have plenty of space but lack qualified staff. Others have the staff, but they do not have the space.

Broad political agreement

Therefore, the government and a broad majority in the Danish Parliament have entered into an agreement that gives municipalities as much freedom as possible and more freedom to handle the influx locally in the day care and primary school area.

Among other things, they can create inter-municipal recipient classes in the primary school area. Together with the neighboring municipality, challenges can be solved easier and better. The two municipalities cover, so to speak, each other's weak points and together it provides a stronger offer to the displaced Ukrainian children and young people.

Agreement provides flexibility

New agreements often means a lot of new rules, but that is not the case here. On the contrary, this agreement is there to remove barriers so that it will be easier for the municipalities to receive the Ukrainian children and young people.

The agreement eases requirements in the Day Care and Primary School Act for children and young people with residence under the Special Act. There will be fewer rules to abide by.

In the day care area, the agreement deviates from the requirement that bilingual children with a need for language stimulation must be admitted to a language stimulation offer 30 hours a week.

In addition, there will be no requirement for Danish speaking in private childcare schemes as well as for subsidies for childcare for own children, so that parents from Ukraine can look after their own and others' children. In the current situation, it may be the one that provides the most security.

In the primary school area, the agreement also eases the current rules for reception classes by allowing pupils from several grade levels on the same team and giving access to inter-municipal organization.

It will also be possible to teach in English and Ukrainian as well as virtual teaching in the field of youth and adult education.

The whole agreement is about creating greater flexibility so that the municipalities can tailor the solutions that are aware of the local challenges and the needs of the target group.

Possibility of special offers

Therefore, we also provide the opportunity for municipalities to create new special offers in the day care and primary school area targeted at Ukrainian children and young people with residence under the special law, where, among other things there will not be a requirement for Danish speech.

Normal rules are created for a normal everyday life, but we are far from a normal everyday life in Europe, and therefore greater flexibility is needed.

It will be up to the individual municipality to assess which measures will be necessary and wise to use, because the individual municipality can best assess this for itself.

It is a can-deal, not a must-deal. It is about opportunities, not demands. Thank you to the parties behind the agreement for helping to solve a difficult challenge. And thank you to the municipalities, which are responsible for the tasks out in the country. Also a big thank you to the staff and volunteers.

Solutions must be found locally

It is nice with a broad agreement that recognizes that municipal diversity is the strength that must be built on if the best possible solutions are to be found locally in a situation that is already complex. And which may prove to be one of the largest, we have lifted as a country when it comes to the reception of refugees and thus also children and young people with a refugee background.

The work is well underway in the municipalities

Out in the municipalities, the work of receiving the Ukrainian refugees is well underway. The task is great. Ukrainian children, young people and families come with very different needs, and many have had deeply traumatic experiences on the way here. Therefore, a big thank you and recognition to everyone involved in the work locally.

Children have started school in Denmark, and it has gone well. Other children have started in receive classes and it has also gone well. Some of the oldest students even follow online tuition from Ukraine.

For the younger children, it is very much about entering into a dialogue with the parents about the family's needs and finding out what is the right offer for exactly their child. And as I said, there are children who have already started in day care.

Association life plays a big role

There is a lot of work going on around the municipal civil societies. Praise to the Danish parents who take the Ukrainian children with them. There is an association life in Danish society that solves a colossal task.

There are civil society actors who provide playroom, football training and leisure activities. It is important that we continue to hold on to the bridges that have been built between the civilian voluntary associations and our municipal institutions. It's good for the Ukrainian youth now, but it's also good for our community in the long run.

Important with flexible agreement

We are facing a complicated task that will get bigger in the coming months. Therefore, it is positive that a broad agreement has been made, which ensures a flexible framework. That flexibility must be used to create the right framework for the Ukrainian children and young people.

It is dilemma filled, which the agreement also reflects. We hope that the children will be here for a short time, and therefore, on the one hand, we want them to maintain their roots in the Ukrainian language and culture. Therefore, it is also obvious that you work with employees who know

the Ukrainian language - not least in the reception track. But at the same time, it can also prove to be long-lasting, and therefore we must also be ready to transfer children to the general track when they are ready for it, but also already now integrate children into the general track.

There will be large differences in the preconditions in the municipalities, and therefore it is good that it now has been decided that the task is best solved locally. This is best done by locally grabbing the tools that work best.

Flexibility is important for the municipalities and the Ukrainian children. And it will be important for a good task solution.

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