Mon, Sep 13, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Subsidized daycare planned for mixed culture households

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Children's Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) plans to set aside a budget to subsidize daycare costs for middle and low income households with foreign spouses.

At a children and youth welfare conference held by the bureau last week, the budget proposal was brought up as a response to the increasing number of children born to intercultural couples.

"The budget aims to assist households with foreign spouses whose children are aged two years or older and who need pre-school daycare services," the bureau stated last week in a press release.

"The plan to set aside a daycare budget is to assist those families in which the parents may not serve as a source of pre-school education for the children. Also, the budget may prevent delays in the learning process or learning disadvantages for children in interracial families due to incomplete cultural understanding," the bureau said.

According to the bureau, several government offices, including the social, public health and education administrations, are working together to provide counseling services to intercultural families.

"In order to have professional counselors to treat all foreign spouses equally and with respect, starting next year, training workshops will be set up to enable specialized social counselors to learn more about intercultural families. Furthermore, these workshops will help personnel to better assess identity issues for children in such households," the bureau stated.

So far, the bureau has printed pamphlets on the topic of parenting. The pamphlet is called a "Parenting guide for parents with children between the ages of 0 and 3."

The guide has been printed in Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai and English.

A similar guide for parents with older children is currently available in Chinese and is being translated into other languages.

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