Childcare options for children under school age

Date of update

Are you moving to France with your children and wondering how to access childcare services?

In France, childcare facilities or services are charged with:

  • Providing childcare.
  • Guaranteeing the health, safety, well-being and development of children in their care.

Several childcare options are available if you have children who are not old enough to attend school in France.




Crèches are establishments that provide children with day care within their premises. Their childcare services are provided by qualified professionals.

Collective childcare facilities

Crèches are public or private collective childcare facilities charged with providing day care to children aged two months to three years. Responsibility for running crèches falls either with a local authority (e.g. your municipality) or a private organization (e.g. an association).

Parents who are professionally active can register their child with a crèche.

Applications for crèche places can be submitted six months into a pregnancy, but some establishments will accept an application as soon as a pregnancy is verified.

Where to find a list of establishments in your municipality of residence and/or the necessary pre-registration and registration procedures:

  • A list of establishments is provided on the CAF (Caisse d’allocation familiale – France’s family allowance fund) website, “Je recherche” section.
  • From your municipality’s childcare service and/or
  • From your département’s childcare service and/or
  • By contacting the establishments directly.

Online service to request childcare (only accessible in certain municipalities):

Many crèches ask parents for the beneficiary number assigned to them by the CAF (Caisse d’allocation familiale – France’s family allowance fund) so as to calculate their quotient familial, a method used to charge families according to their means.


Company or inter-company crèches (also known as staff crèches)

The role of these crèches is to provide day care to the children of staff from one more companies (including private companies). These are located in the workplaces of parents and adjust their opening times to those of the employer. Some will accept children from families living in the local neighborhood, subject to the availability of places. Speak to your employer and/or that of your spouse to find out whether they provide this service.


Parental crèches

Parental crèches, which are set up as associations, are run by parents who provide day care for children on a rota basis.



Micro-crèches, which are subject to similar rules as traditional crèches, tend to care for a smaller number of children (generally no more than 10). For further information:


Useful to know: You must submit an application for a CAF (Caisse d’allocation familiale – France’s family allowance fund) family allowance in order to request a place at a crèche and, if eligible, to receive a family allowance:

You can apply online, enquire at the CAF office local to your residence in France, or send your application by post together with the standard form that allows you to declare your circumstances.

Once your application has been processed, you should be issued with a beneficiary number (numéro d’allocataire), whether or not your application is accepted by the CAF.

Online application

For further information:

A calculator is available to determine the cost of a place in a crèche for a child under six:


Personal childcare 


When you are the employer of the individual providing childcare services



Registered childminders are accredited by the council in their local département, which grants approval to those wishing to exercise this profession. These individuals hold a vocational qualification in the relevant field and fulfil the conditions required to care for children (a maximum of four) in their home. They can also provide childcare services at a childminder center (Maison d’assistantes maternelles or MAM).

Where to find a childminder:

  • View a list of accredited childminders on the CAF’s dedicated website,, “Je recherche” section.
  • Contact your local area’s childminder support centers (Relais d’assistantes maternelles – RAM).
  • Contact your municipality’s childcare department or your local council’s mother and child protection agency (service de protection maternelle et infantile – PMI).

You can also create an account in the “particulier employeur” (“household employer”) section of the Pôle Emploi (National Employment Agency) website.


Employing a childminder at home

Families can employ a childminder to care for their child or children at home, or opt for shared childcare with another family. In the latter case, the employee provides childcare at the home of each family alternately.

Thus, the family is the employer or co-employer of the childcare professional. They are in charge of the recruitment process as well as the administrative formalities incumbent upon employers.

As the employer or co-employer, the family is responsible for:

They must declare wages to the Pajemploi center, which issues pay slips on the family’s behalf.

Where to find a childminder to provide day care at your home:

  • View a list of advertisements at, “Rechercher un salarié” (“Search for an employee”) section
  • You can also create an account in the “particulier employeur” (“household employer”) section of the Pôle Emploi

For further information about employing childminders or other service providers at your home:


Helpful tip :The national collective agreement of employees of individual employers is not applicable to individual employers residing in the overseas departments and regions (Guadeloupe, Reunion Island, Mayotte, Martinique and French Guiana). For more information, view the URSSAF website.


Personal service providers

Personal service providers are organizations registered with and/or accredited by the government. They act as an intermediary between a family and an individual employed in their home to care for their children. Registered organizations are only authorized to care for children aged three and above. Organizations wishing to offer childcare services for children under three must be accredited.

As the employer of an individual who works in a private household, the organization takes care of all or part of the administrative formalities involved in their recruitment, as well as fulfilling each of the employer’s obligations.


Financial support for childcare services

Subject to certain terms and conditions, families can receive a childcare allowance in the form of the “Complément de libre choix de mode de garde” (CMG) when one or more of their children aged under six is looked after:

  • By an accredited childminder.
  • By a household employee.
  • By a service provider.
  • By a micro-crèche.

The following expenses may be covered:

  • 50% of the social security contributions paid by a family employing an individual to care for children at their home.
  • 100% of the social security contributions paid by a family employing a childminder.
  • A portion of the wages of a household employee or a childminder: The amount covered depends on the family’s income, the number of children and their age. The family must pay at least 15% of the wages.

Tax breaks are also available when you employ an individual in your home.

Families can receive the CMG childcare allowance on condition that their child has been in day care for at least 16 hours over the course of the month and that the hourly rate does not exceed €10 per child.

For further information about the financial support available, visit:


Calculate the allowances you can claim when using the services of a childminder in your home or elsewhere: