Child minders in Bucharest: a shadowed category between law, employment and social norms
Child minding in Romania seems to be a “recent” practice which developed after the fall of the communist regime. Before the 90s, parental leave was in fact only a maternal leave of 3 months (after which mothers had to return to their workplaces) and the age for retirement was 55 for women and 57 for men . According to the former communist ideology childcare had to be undertaken by public institutions (i.e. the public system of nurseries and kindergartens). Thus, at the end of 1989 there were 840 public nurseries and 12599 public kindergartens (INS). However, the number of nurseries was insufficient for a population of over 20 million people, even when compared to other communist countries in the region (Heinen & Wator, 2006). Without being able to rely on any research in this field, but considering testimonies collected (Rostás & Văcărescu, 2008) or discussions with various social actors and stakeholders, one can say that child care was provided by the family structure if places in nurseries were not available.