The "end-to-end daycare subsidy program for 0-6 year-old kids," the first of its kind in Taiwan, was launched by Taichung City Government on July 1. Targets of childcare subsidy are expanded from 0-2 year-old kids to 6 year-old kids, who are attending nursery schools or certified daycare centers or who are cared by nannies at home. Moreover, extra subsidy is also granted to children from disadvantaged families. Mayor Lin Chia-lung announced that the first wave of allowance was distributed to disadvantaged families on July 10 and the city government would continue to promote the welfare policy to alleviate parenting stress and enhance the quality of childcare environment in the hope that Taichung will become the most livable city.
On July 20, the Social Affairs Bureau of Taichung City Government held a press conference at the Nantun Nursery School to officially kick off the end-to-end daycare subsidy program. Attending guests included Mayor Lin, Director-general of Social Affairs Bureau Lue Jen-der (呂建德), Director- general of Education Bureau Yan Qing-xiang (顏慶祥), Chief of Nantun District Cheng Tai-yuan (程泰源), City Councilor Zhang Yao-zhong (張耀中), and so forth. The first wave of childcare subsidy was distributed to 6,523 kids who are eligible for the grant, said Mayor Lin.
The "end-to-end daycare subsidy program" covers nursery schools, certified daycare centers and home daycare service providers (nannies), which will be granted NT$2,000 to NT$ 3,000 per kid per month for taking care of 0-6 years old. It is expected that childcare subsidy will be wired on August 28 and tuition fees to nursery schools will be transferred in November or December. This welfare policy will benefit over 40,000 children, including those in the first wave of childcare subsidy to the disadvantaged families.
Mayor Lin said, “The annual budget for childcare subsidy programs is about NT$1.7 billion when resources from both the central and local governments are counted. Every kid will be granted NT$ 30,000 a year. The budget will not increase without limit. So, this is a sustainable policy. Moreover, after careful calculation, review on retained budgets from the past, and overall planning, we can cut unnecessary expenses to save about NT$12.4 billion from the annual budget and this saving will be transferred to the social welfare programs. Therefore, there is no such problem as to squeeze out other budgets for municipal constructions.”
Mayor Lin stressed that the "end-to-end daycare subsidy program" aims to improve the “nanny” market and reduce the burden of child-rearing parents at the same time. “I have put in my social investment philosophy into this policy. That is why we will screen nannies and daycare centers and sign contracts with them. The cash subsidies will be granted to only those certified nannies under a price control mechanism. Therefore, parents can entrust their kids to those certified nannies and go to work with a peaceful mind. In this way, we will lift up youth labor force participation rate and promote the daycare service industry as well,” said Mayor Lin.
Some people were worried that a few nursery schools might increase price in disguise. Director-general Yan explained that his Education Bureau has been checking all the nursery schools since April and will continue to monitor the situations. “If any nursery school is found to have raised tuition and monthly fees, we will order it to refund and punish it. We will strengthen inspection to rule out price hike in whatever forms,” added Director-general Yan.
The Social Affairs Bureau has also designed a spreadsheet to help parents calculate the amounts that they can get from the subsidy programs. Please visit the website of Taichung City Government. Link to the “end-to-end daycare subsidy program” page. Follow the instructions to key in your data. You will then see how much you can get from either the central government or Taichung City Government, said the Social Affairs Bureau.