The Peng Wan-Ru Foundation yesterday said it is providing a NT$90,000 (US$2,959) employment incentive to become an in-home babysitter for infants up to two years old, after the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Monday amended regulations that eased restrictions on in-home childcare providers.
The ministry on Monday announced the amendment to the Registration and Management Regulations for Family Childcare Services Agencies (居家式托育服務提供者登記及管理辦法), mainly easing the number of children each childcare provider can look after and increasing the frequency of visits by visiting counselors.
The Peng Wan-Ru Foundation, a non-profit organization advocating for women’s safe and equal access to politics and education, and offering domestic help services, said the change of policy would encourage more young people, including mothers with a newborn, to become in-home babysitters.
Photo courtesy of the Peng Wan-Ru Foundation
Foundation chief executive officer Wang Chao-ching (王兆慶) said that before the regulations were amended, a licensed in-home babysitter with two children — a child at school and an infant aged up to two years old — was not allowed to look after another infant, but the amended regulations allow the babysitter to look after another infant, so they could earn a living from it.
The regulations had prevented younger people from entering the in-home babysitter workforce and as of late last year, among 27,547 registered licensed in-home childcare providers, 16,896, or 61 percent, were aged 50 or older, so there would have been a serious in-home babysitter shortage in 10 years, Wang said.
“With the low birthrate, some may ask if many babysitters are still needed, but according to the government’s annual labor utilization survey report, the percentage of working women with a child three years old or younger increased from 43.7 percent in 2000 to 71.93 percent last year, and even remained at 67.14 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021,” he said.
Aging in-home babysitters and the growing demand due to more parents choosing to stay in their job after having a baby leads to an imminent need for more young people to become childcare providers, especially in-home babysitters to take care of infants, Wang said.
As the Ministry of Labor provides a NT$100,000 incentive for new long-term care providers, the foundation is to provide NT$5 million — NT$100,000 per case — to recruit 50 in-home babysitters in certain districts of Taipei and New Taipei City, he said.
The foundation has urged the government to offer employment incentives for childcare providers across the nation, to prevent a shortage in the future, he added.
Licensed in-home babysitter Chuang Tsu-hsuan (莊子萱), who is in her 30s and now working with another babysitter taking care of four infants, said she had worked in a postpartum care center, an infant daycare center and even as a babysitter in the US, but she enjoys being an in-home babysitter, as the provider-to-child ratio is lower, allowing her to pay more attention to the needs of each infant.
“The previous work experiences made me feel like I was working for the job, but I did not like the environment, as the provider-to-child ratio could be one to five, and it was difficult to attend to each child’s needs and emotions,” she said, adding that working at home is more flexible and feels like being an entrepreneur, so she would encourage people to apply to become an in-home babysitter.
Licensed in-home babysitter Chou Yo-ching (周有婧), who works with Chuang, said she found that she is very patient with babies and likes to play with them, so she applied to learn the skills and obtain a license, and now she and Chung help each other out when taking care of four children and often take them out on visits.
Licensed in-home babysitter Lee Yi-hua (李怡華), who is in her 40s and a mother of two junior-high students, said she could not find a job that allowed her to leave work early to take care of her children when they were younger, so she took courses and passed the exam, which allowed her to be a babysitter at home during the day and have more time with her children when they come home from school.
They all said that it could be intimidating at first when deciding to be an in-home babysitter, but counselors from the local social welfare department’s family childcare service centers give advice and help make the home environment safe.
Foundation in-home childcare division director Chien Hui-lan (簡蕙蘭) said the foundation’s incentive program offers NT$90,000 for each new in-home babysitter and NT$10,000 for a senior in-home babysitter who recommends and serves as a mentor.
Eligibility rules and application information can be found on the foundation’s Web site at www.pwr.org.tw, Chien said.
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