In certain cities (among those, Berlin), the daycare voucher (Kita Gutschein) entitles your child to a childcare place, such as a Kindergarten, free of charge. In fact, this service is financially compensated by the municipality.
If you want your children to attend a Kindergarten, they must be at least 8 weeks old, but during their first year of life you have to prove that you truly need care for them. From their first birthday the application is less complicated, but there are still some requirements to respect.
To apply for a place for your child in a Kindergarten you must first contact the local youth welfare office (Jugendamt). Regrettably, you can only get the Kita Gutschein only in a few cities, such as Berlin or Hamburg, as this system is not widespread in Germany.
Once you have applied and received the voucher, you can look for an institution where you would like your child to be. Bear in mind that not all childcare places are free, but for those that are so, you can use your voucher.
Why do I need a voucher if it is free? With the introduction of the voucher model, the costs of the daycares can be calculated precisely for each place as the Kindergärten receive funds from the municipality. This creates competitive pressure among each other, which is positive, considering that these institutions are encouraged to present better concepts and develop further in order to attract more children, or better their parents.