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 first phase (2017-2020) of this response focused on expanding affordable education and care services and easing the burden on parents. This phase benefited more than 860,000 families and achieved the goal of providing comprehensive care for children ages 0-6. The second phase (2021-2024), forming a national policy to help families raise children ages 0-6, will introduce three measures outlined below. These efforts will use national resources to help nurture the backbone of the country's future, and alleviate the burden of child-rearing on families.
■ Expand affordable education and care services: By 2024, an additional 64,000 slots will be made available at public preschools and child care facilities.
■ Double child-rearing allowances: Starting August 2021, child-rearing allowances for children under age 5 will be raised from NT$2,500 (US$88) to NT$3,500 every month. The allowances will be hiked again in August 2022 to NT$5,000 per month, with additional allowances for the second and third children and beyond. The scope of the allowances will also be expanded in August 2021 to cover people collecting parental leave-without-pay subsidies and disadvantaged households collecting other subsidies.
■ Lower child care and education fees: Starting August 2021, child care subsidies for children ages 0-2 attending public and quasi-public care centers will be increased to NT$4,000 and NT$7,000 per month, respectively. The subsidies will be hiked again in August 2022 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, starting August 2021 tuition fees will be capped at NT$1,500, NT$2,500 and NT$3,500 per month, respectively. In August 2022 the fees will again be lowered to NT$1,000, NT$2,000 and NT$3,000, respectively, with further cuts for the second and third children and beyond.