Frequently asked questions

What will using the LITTLE BIRD parents’ portal do for you?

LITTLE BIRD is a search engine: Using the LITTLE BIRD parents’ portal you can find information on childcare providers in an ever increasing number of municipalities in Germany in a simple, clear and non-binding manner.

The parents’ online portal at littlebird.essen.de will take you to the childcare services available in the city of Essen.

With LITTLE BIRD in Essen you can request up to seven childcare places over the same childcare period with providers of your choice. It does not matter whether the desired providers currently have any free capacity. This is subject to registering and logging into the parents’ portal. You can also rank these place requests with a priority of between one (high) and seven (low) and thus indicate to the providers which of the requested facilities you prefer.

LITTLE BIRD can be easily used from home at any time on your computer, smart phone or tablet. It saves time and spares the need for costly paperwork. You of course still have the possibility of making place requests in person with the respective childcare providers.The family service of the city of Essen - located at I. Hagen 26, 45127 Essen - can also help with your search for suitable childcare places and can support you in reserving such places in LITTLE BIRD. 

The places will be awarded by the providers themselves. The number of possible childcare requests will be determined by the city of Essen and the independent operators and is limited to seven reservations.  The final allocation of places will be decided by the respective operator.

FAQs.

  1. Do I have to register in order to see the childcare services on offer?
  2. At what point do I have to register?
  3. How can I make a childcare request?
  4. Why do I need my child’s childcare pass number and how do I find this?
  5. Can I only make childcare requests with LITTLE BIRD?
  6. How can I get in touch with centres or professional day care associations in person or directly?
  7. What must I pay attention to when completing the online form in the parents’ portal?
  8. Why is a telephone number a mandatory field when making a childcare request?
  9. Do I have to provide a second contracting party?
  10. What does “priority” mean when making a childcare request?
  11. How can I change the information I have entered later (e.g. when moving house, giving birth to a child, changing the priorities etc.)?
  12. How can I place a sibling in the same centre/with the same childminder?
  13. What happens after my childcare request?
  14. How long does it take to receive a response from the centre?
  15. Why do I have to introduce myself in person?
  16. How should I introduce myself?

1. Do I have to register in order to see the childcare services on offer?

No. The LITTLE BIRD parents’ portal acts as a search engine. You can search and view the results in a list and on a map without registering. You can also view the individual profiles with information on the respective providers and their contact information.

2. At what point do I have to register?

A registration and login is required when you wish to make childcare request. It is only through this process that you can also see the respective status after making a childcare request. Saving a search, bookmarking centres and template management will also only be available with an account.

3. How can I make a childcare request?

In order to request a place with a provider chosen by you, you must first register and log in. By clicking on the “make a childcare request” button you will be taken to an online form. The fields marked with * must be completed with the correct information. You can then send the place request. The childcare provider will be informed that you are interested in a place through your request and the provision of your information.

4. Why do I need my child’s childcare pass number and how do I find this?

The childcare pass number must be presented at all registrations in Essen and therefore must also be input into the Essen LITTLE BIRD parents’ portal. The childcare pass number ensures the clear assignment of your information and prevents fraudulent or hoax registrations and the input of false data into the system.

Families from Essen will receive the childcare pass automatically in the month following the birth of their child or it will be sent by the Essen Youth Welfare Department following a move to Essen.

If you do not have your childcare pass number or you have not received one because, for example, you do not yet live in Essen, please contact family services at the Youth Welfare Department on 0201-8851777 or via the email address “Familienpunkt @essen.de”.

5. Can I only make childcare requests with LITTLE BIRD?

No. The portal is a simple way to make a childcare request. You of course still have the possibility of making place requests in person with the respective centres or professional day care associations. A place request in person will be treated the same as a request through the LITTLE BIRD parents’ portal in the allocation process.

6. How can I get in touch with centres or professional day care associations in person or directly?

In order to contact a centre or professional day care association you should use the contact information for the centre or professional day care association in the respective portal profiles. If the required information is not registered in the respective profiles, please contact the Youth Welfare Department of the city of Essen.

7. What must I pay attention to when completing the online form in the parents’ portal?

Please ensure that you enter all information correctly (later changes are only possible directly through a centre, professional day care association or the Youth Welfare Department of the city of Essen, see point 11).

Complete all fields with a *.

If information which has been input does not correspond to the prescribed format or a discrepancy is found, the corresponding field will be marked in red and an exclamation mark by the field will provide further information to help you re-enter the information.

8. Why is a telephone number a mandatory field when making a childcare request?

If clarification on your childcare request is needed by the childcare provider, they may contact you using the phone number that you have given.

9. Do I have to provide a second contracting party?

Yes, if you are married or if you have joint or shared custody of a child that you wish to register.

10. What does “priority” mean when making a childcare request?

If you wish to make parallel requests for childcare places at several centres, you have the option to enter priorities, meaning you can choose your favourites amongst the selected centres or childminders. When making a request, giving a specific centre or childminder a priority of “1” will mean that this centre or childminder is your favourite.

11. How can I change the information I have entered later (e.g. when moving house, giving birth to a child, changing the priorities etc.)?

If you wish to change your information at a later date, please contact one of the centres requested by yourself or the responsible professional day care association. It is currently not possible to change this information directly in the parents’ portal yourself.

12. How can I place a sibling in the same centre/with the same childminder?

In the event that one of your children is already with the same provider, you have the possibility of mentioning this in the childcare request.

13. What happens after my childcare request?

All of your requests will be submitted directly to the respective providers. The allocation of the places is up to the childcare providers themselves; LITTLE BIRD has no direct influence on this.

Scenario 1

  • You receive an invitation from the childcare provider to meet in person (if both sides have not already met each other).
  • You then receive an offer of a place from the provider. (You must accept or decline the place within a set period, which is usually 14 days.  All further requests are still active until this point.)
  • You accept the offer of a place. (The place is reserved and this is binding for both parties, all further requests automatically become inactive).
  • You receive an individual childcare agreement from the childcare provider.

Scenario 2

  • You receive an invitation from the childcare provider to meet in person (if both sides have not already met each other).
  • You then receive an offer of a place from the provider. (You must accept or decline the place within a set period, which is usually 14 days. All further requests are still active until this point.)
  • You decline the offer of a place. (after declining the offer, this request will be deactivated in the system and all other requests will be reactivated.)
  • You can now make a new request and/or wait to hear back from the day care centres / childcare providers which you have already contacted.

Scenario 3

  • The centre does not have any free capacity and declines your place request with justification. (All further requests automatically remain active.)
  • You can now make a new request and/or wait to hear back from the day care centres / childcare providers which you have already contacted.
  • All of your requests will be submitted directly to the respective providers. The allocation of the places is up to the childcare providers themselves; LITTLE BIRD has no direct influence on this.
  • The requested childcare providers will respond to you individually. This may occur in the short-term or it can take some time.

14. How long does it take to receive a response from the centre?

This can vary and LITTLE BIRD has no influence on this.

The following holds: The earlier you make your request for the desired places and register your childcare needs, the more able the requested centres are to plan in a better and more precise manner. (You can make childcare requests 36 months in advance of the desired start of the childcare.) This can also help your own planning security. If you are unsure, you always have the possibility of making an enquiry with the respective centre or professional day care association either by telephone or in person.

15. Why do I have to introduce myself in person?

Both parties meeting in person is imperative in the process of allocating places. The care of children is a very personal matter in which all parties should have met each other in person before a childcare arrangement can begin. If you already personally know the centre management or the childminder, e.g. if one of your child’s siblings is already being cared for by the centre or the childminder, another introduction is not necessary.

16. How should I introduce myself?

You will be considered “introduced” when you have confirmed your identity with official documents. Depending on the requirements of public and independent operators of childcare services, a one-off introduction with one operator may suffice for all your childcare requests for all day care centres and childminders associated with them. Otherwise, a personal introduction is necessary for each centre or childcare provider inviting you to interview.