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A stronger social safety net for Taiwan

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The Executive Yuan approved a new program to strengthen Taiwan's social safety net on February 26, 2018. Set to run through 2020, the three-year family-centric program calls for cooperation among multiple agencies and organizations to strengthen social services links, control and eliminate the risk factors that underlie social decay, and provide a secure environment for future generations free from the threat of violence. To expand the reach and coverage of the social safety net, the government in 2021 launched a second phase of the program (2021-2025) that, aside from the assorted projects of the first phase, will add five major tasks to the work at hand. These efforts aim to weave a tighter social safety net and provide prompt, effective and appropriate services, all of which will help ease the burden on the people and reduce social problems.

Four social safety strategies

Establish a widely distributed network of social welfare service centers, and integrate social services with welfare programs: Social welfare service centers are being established throughout the nation. These centers administer measures aimed at pulling people out of poverty. Also being implemented are community-based care and services for children and young people from disadvantaged households.

Integrate sexual and domestic violence response services with assistance for high-risk households: All incident reports are funneled to a centralized response management center, which has access to the latest, multi-sourced updates and information about at-risk households. Emergencies receive an immediate response, while less urgent cases are handled according to risk potential and required resources. Incidents of child abuse are handled through a professional assessment mechanism.

Combine suicide-prevention services with psychiatric care for offenders: Individualized services combining mental health care for offenders with psychiatric disorders or suicidal intentions are being enhanced. Extensive resources for community services together with counseling and treatment for sexual and domestic violence perpetrators are aimed at improving community oversight and reducing recidivism. The rollout of more effective prevention efforts also seek to lessen the risk of suicide.

Integrate the service resources of multiple ministries and agencies: Education authorities are creating a three-tiered counseling system for students, as well as connecting schools to outside resources, while labor officials provide employment assistance to disadvantaged groups. Law enforcement carries out crime-prevention measures and meets regularly with those more likely to engage in criminal behavior.

Five major tasks of phase 2

◆ Establish community mental health centers and cooperative-model service stations for people with mental disorders. Strengthen psychiatric health community systems and community support services.
◆ Establish forensic psychiatric wards and hospitals, and strengthen forensic psychiatric medical services.
◆ Strengthen collaborative services across systems, across professional fields, and between public and private sectors.
◆ Establish more social services and integrated child protection and medical centers, and continue to optimize medical resources and services.
◆ Create more senior staff positions, strengthen career development, promote manpower advancement, and encourage long-term commitments to professional positions.

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