Mayor Lin Chia-lung’s manifesto to take care of 0-6 year-old kids has been put into practice step by step.Starting from July 2015, the Social Affairs Bureau of Taichung City Government will expand its subsidy to children from 2 years old to less than 3 years old who are receiving affordable daycare service. Parents will be subsidized of NT$2,000 to NT$3,000 per child per month. The program is expected to benefit an addition of nearly 3000 infants. Lu Jian-de (呂建德), Director of Social Affairs Bureau, has instructed that a supplementary budget of approximately NT$90 million be prepared and submitted to the City Council for approval in a hope to implement the program in July at the soonest.
It has aroused widespread concern whether the childcare allowance program for 2-5 years oldwill be canceled. Director Lu said in the press conference held on January 9, 2015 that the childcare allowance program for 2-5 years old was a manifesto declared by former mayor Hu, and the daycare policy declared by Mayor Lin has never changed, that is, the original affordable daycare subsidies for infants aged 0 to 2 will be continued. In other words, parents who are qualified to register their household in Taichung City and have their baby (or babies) aged 2 and below attended by a daycare center or nanny certified by the Taichung City Government will be granted with a monthly allowance of NT$ 2,000 to NT$ 3,000. The infant’s age may be extended from 2 years old to less than 3 years old in the near future.
After expansion of the affordable daycare subsidy program, parents will need to pay NT$7,000 for their 0-2 years old and NT$10,000 for 2-3 years old, well below the average of NT$15,000 in Taipei. “The program shall greatly lighten the burden on parents,” said Director Lu.
The program would cost about NT90 million and a supplementary budget has been under preparation and will be submitted to Taichung City Council for approval. It is expected to put the program into practice in July at the soonest.The childcare units are still responsible to apply for the subsidy on behalf of the parents. “We will try to expand the program gradually when our financial situation improves. Child welfare shall not be compromised,”Director Lu stressed.
Mayor Lin also stressed that he would create a complete daycare policy and put it into practice after taking the financial situation of the city government into consideration. “The childcare allowance policy proposed by Mayor Hu is not an official policy of my administration and there is no budget for its implementation, either. Nevertheless, I will extend the daycare allowance program to kids aged 3 years old at the first stage and extend it further when we can afford it financially in the future.” Mayor Lin said.
Director Lu pointed out that after expansion of the program, the number of kids to be attended to increases from 7,000 to 9,000, allowing a nanny to take care of two 0-2 years old and one more 3 years old. “A nanny can now increase his or her monthly revenue from NT$20,006 to NT$30,009. More importantly, the program creates jobs. Now, 17 new daycare centers and 427 new nannies have joined the market.” Director Lu said.
Director Lu also stressed, “There is also supporting mechanisms to ensure the quality control for the affordable daycare policy. We hope to create a win-win situation for children, parents, and daycare workers, so that safety of the kids is ensured, burden on parents is reduced, and employment opportunities for daycare staff are increased.”
For the 3-5 years old, the Education Bureau of Taichung City Government will follow the policy stipulated by the Ministry of Education to better utilize public space to set up non-profit kindergartens. It is planned to add 11 non-profit kindergartens during the period between 2015 and 2018 in a hope to meet expectations of parents.
In line with the tuition-free education program for 5 years old proclaimed by Ministry of Education, a 5-year-old child attending a private kindergarten is currently subsidized of NT$30,000 every year. A 2-4 year-old kid from a mid-income and low-income family is subsidized of NT$ 6,000 or NT$ 18,000 per year, respectively.