Thu, Oct 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ministry planning to subsidize nurseries

GENERATION GAP:About 90 percent of children aged under two are taken care of by their grandparents or relatives, as their parents cannot afford to pay for nurseries

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung answers questions during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Health and Welfare is planning to subsidize nurseries to improve their quality and reduce the financial burden on young parents, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday.

About 90 percent of children aged under two are taken care of by their grandparents or relatives, according to a survey conducted by the ministry’s Social and Family Affairs Administration.

It found that while government-funded or private nurseries and qualified at-home babysitters are expected to provide services for 19.52 percent of children up to two years old, only about 9.74 percent are using these resources.

Agency Director Chien Hui-chuan (簡慧娟) yesterday told the Legislative Yuan that nursery fees on average account to about 33 percent of young parents’ disposable household income, but studies have suggested that the percentage should be from 10 to 15 percent to be considered affordable.

Many parents said they are not using nurseries or babysitters because their fees are too high or they are uncertain about the quality of the service, she said.

Chen said the ministry has made plans to increase the budget for subsidizing nurseries to improve their quality and help reduce parents’ financial burden.

“We are not directly giving money to the parents, but rather subsidizing the institutions so that they can lower their fees,” he said, adding that the policy can also help the ministry have control over the facilities’ quality.

Chien said the amount of subsidy is still being calculated, but the agency expects to reach a conclusion by April next year, and make public the decision.

The survey was conducted last year by a researcher at National Chung Cheng University’s Department of Social Welfare on parents with children aged up to two years, living in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taichung, and Yilan and Yunlin counties, asking about their cognition, satisfaction and actual childcare arrangements, collecting 604 valid questionnaires.

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