In 2017 Taiwan's government began expanding affordable public education and care services for early childhood in response to an increasingly alarming decline in the nation's birthrate. The government's initial measures (2017-2020) focused on expanding affordable education and care services and easing the burden on parents. This benefited more than 860,000 families and was expected to achieve the goal of providing comprehensive care for children ages 0-6.
To provide the greatest level of support possible to families raising children and foster an environment in which young people feel confident to marry and start a family, in 2021 the government expanded its response with the introduction of the national child care policy for ages 0-6 (2021-2024).
The ages 0-6 policy focuses on increasing the number of available slots at public preschools and child care facilities, providing additional childrearing allowances and easing the burden of childrearing for young families, harnessing the nation's resources to nurture the backbone of the country's future.
Key measures (non means-tested)
■ Increase affordable education and care services: Push forward with the rollout of more public child care facilities, as well as quasi-public services, by collaborating with residential child care (nanny) and private infant care centers that meet the required standards. Make use of available space within schools and publicly-owned land to establish more public and nonprofit preschools. Encourage more public and private sector organizations to invest in new preschools, and encourage partnerships with qualified private preschools through the quasi-public mechanism, thereby providing parents with a greater choice of affordable schooling for their children.
■ Raise childrearing allowances: Childrearing allowances for children ages 0-6 were raised to NT$5,000 (US$156) per month, and additional allowances were introduced for second and third children and beyond. Tuition subsidies for children ages 5-6 enrolled at private preschools were also adjusted in accordance with childrearing allowances. At the same time, eligibility for these allowances was also expanded to include families receiving parental leave-without-pay subsidies and disadvantaged households collecting other subsidies.
■ Lower child care and education fees: Starting August 2022, child care subsidies for children ages 0-2 attending public and quasi-public care centers were increased to NT$5,500 and NT$8,500, respectively, with additional subsidies for the second and third children and beyond. For children ages 2-6 attending public, nonprofit or quasi-public preschools, tuition fees were capped at NT$1,000, NT$2,000 and NT$3,000 per month, respectively, with further reductions for the second and third children and beyond.
■ Raise employee salaries: Minimum monthly salaries for personnel working in public child care services will be raised to over NT$35,000. For personnel working in quasi-public child care and teaching staff and educare providers working in quasi-public preschools, minimum monthly salaries will be raised according to three tiers — NT$30,000, NT$33,000 and NT$36,000 — based on level of seniority.
■ Provide an incentive structure: The government will provide grants of up to NT$500,000 per additional caregiver per year for child care centers that optimize to a caregiver-to-child ratio of 1:4. Quasi-public child care centers that upgrade their facilities and equipment will be eligible to apply for grants ranging between NT$400,000 and NT$800,000. Additionally, quasi-public nanny services that meet the required equipment standards will receive an increased allowance of NT$12,000 per nanny per year.