Child care and subsidy policies to address falling birth rates

  • Date: 2018-05-28

Taiwan is currently experiencing a steep decline in birth rates. Reasons for this drop include changing values toward marriage and children, the heavy economic burden of raising children, and a shortage of public and subsidized child care. To address these issues, the government amended the Early Childhood Education and Care Act to provide private enterprises with more freedom to establish onsite day care or cooperative child care services for the children of employees. Furthermore, policy was put in place on May 16 of this year to strengthen early childhood education and care as a means of lightening the burden of child-rearing, with the objective of raising both birth rates and women’s participation in the workforce.

Three strategies to lighten the burden of child-rearing for parents

Expand public child care and preschools: Between 2017 and 2020, 1,247 new classes will be added at public preschools, with an additional 1,000 classes to be created between 2021 and 2022. Together, these new classes will provide care for 60,000 children. For newborns and children up to the age of 2, the government will continue to promote community-based public child care. Plans call for 440 such centers to be added by 2022, which will accommodate 5,280 children.

Use public funds to subsidize quality private child care and preschool: The government will provide subsidies to contracted home-based child care, private day care centers and private preschools to ease the financial burden on parents. This subsidy policy will begin covering newborns to 2-year-olds in August 2018, along with children aged 2 to 5 in 15 cities and counties outside of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. The policy will go into effect nationwide in August 2019.

 Expand subsidies for child-rearing: Families will receive monthly payments of NT$2,500 (US$84) for each child up to the age of 4, and an extra NT$1,000 (US$33) for every child beyond the first two. For families with children up to 2 years old, the number of beneficiaries will rise from 143,000 to an estimated 266,000 in August 2018. For families with children aged 2 to 4, the number of beneficiaries will reach 400,000 when the expansion of benefits goes into effect in August 2019.