With rising populations, Taichung is fast becoming the second largest city in Taiwan. The Taichung government stated that its social welfare system is thriving under the concept of “community investment.” For example, the city’s Dragon Raising Policy provides children aged 0 to 6 with a monthly care allowance, reducing the financial burden of parents. In addition to Dragon Raising and Fake Teeth Subsidy Plans, the government places importance on healthy senior life. The city hosts senior meals, senior-youth academic salons, and senior-youth study halls, allowing seniors to enjoy a socially active lifestyle. Taichung City has many facilities that create an image of a more livable city, successfully attracting increasing numbers of people to move to Taichung. In the future, the city will continue improving preexisting and building new social welfare facilities and attracting more residents.
City Mayor Lin Jialong once stated that the spirit of the Dragon Raising Policy is “it takes a village to raise a child.” The policy provides aid and support to children from 0 to 6 years old, or from birth to elementary school, reducing the economic pressure parents face in raising children, and allowing more parents to return to work. This policy also creates more business opportunities for nannies, daycares, and preschools, effectively creating more employment opportunities. Many other cities have visited to study Taichung, which may prompt other residents of other regions of Taiwan to move to Taichung. People choosing to live and work in Taichung is a major factor in its increasing population.
The Social Affairs Bureau stated that currently over 20,000 children are covered by the Dragon Raising Policy, and around 2000 preschool education and nanny jobs have been created. The city government has actively established public preschools, and is striving to reach a target ratio of 4 public preschools to 6 private. This policy creates an affordable childcare market and allows parents to go back to work with no worries. This benefits children, parents, and businesses, and helps combat low birth rates.
With regards to the Senior Dragon Policy, the Social Affairs Bureau explained that, in order to combat the problems of an aging population, as well as reduce the family burden, the city government is promoting a new policy from the perspective of senior citizens. This policy provides support starting from preventative measures for those in good health to care for those losing functions based on their health conditions combined with the central government’s long-term care 2.0 policy. The plan includes senior-youth academic salons, community care, daytime senior care, diversified care centers, and more, totaling 17 different services. The government hopes to use good systems to allow 70% of seniors to lead a healthy life and maintain their independence.
Community care centers encourage seniors to get out of the house to eat, chat, and be merry at the centers. In 2014 there were 210 such centers, and as of this year there are 273, marking a 30% growth. In 2014 there were 151 locations providing senior meals, and as of this year there are 236, marking a 56% growth.
Senior-youth academic salons are localized, communal events which use classrooms at community centers to encourage seniors to participate. Senior-youth salons have been well received by seniors, and the city plans to double the events in 2017 and provide funding for public facilities which hold senior-youth academic salons. From 2016 to 2017, the number of courses held increased by 196 for a total of 681 classes. In 2018, such salons will be held in all kinds of public facilities, which will be decided based on convenience and comprehensiveness, with 1,000 classes as the target.
The senior fake teeth subsidy has yielded positive results. Since its inception, the subsidy has benefitted 35,004 senior citizens. The program will receive NT 300 million this year, and is expected to benefit 7,500 seniors.
The Social Affairs Bureau stated that the city is working to create a safe, pleasant living and working environment through comprehensive planning, allowing Taichung to become an even more livable city, and attracting even more residents.