Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 3 News List

MOI denies planning to start childcare payments

BABY BOOM The ministry said it is looking into different ways of boosting the nations’s birth rate, and childcare payments are just one possibility

BY LOA IOK-SIN  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) yesterday denied a report in the local media that it plans to introduce childcare payments to counter the falling birth rate.

In a report published yesterday, the Chinese-language China Times quoted the director of the MOI’s Children’s Bureau, Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛), as saying that the ministry already has a plan to distribute a monthly payment of NT$5,000 (US$157) to parents of children up to three years of age, regardless of their economic circumstances.

The paper went on to say that those families currently receiving the NT$3,000 monthly daycare payment — issued to families where both parents work but earn an annual income of less than NT$1.5 million — would still be eligible for the new childcare payment.

The MOI yesterday denied it has any plans to make childcare payments at this point in time.

“A team of academics completed research on the possibility of issuing a childcare payment on June 30, 2009, and that listed several options,” the MOI said in a statement.

“The NT$5,000 monthly payment is only one of the options detailed,” it said. “At the moment, the MOI is still conducting research into the possibility of a childcare payments policy, we do not yet have any concrete plans.”

The ministry added that it is looking into different ways of promoting a higher birth rate, and childcare payments are just one possibility.

Other policy options include incorporating different childcare systems — such as childcare centers, childcare at home or at a relative’s house — and providing assistance to people who choose different childcare options.

“Given the financial difficulties currently faced by the national treasury, we do not think the timing is right for the disbursement of childcare payments right now,” the statement said.

“However, we do think there is a need for more research on the issue, so that we are better prepared in the event that childcare payments do become official policy in future,” it said.

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