To address Taiwan's falling birth rate, the government has implemented a child care facilities plan under the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program. Running from 2017 to 2020, the plan is funded by a special budget of NT$4.2 billion (US$136.1 million) divided into two terms: NT$2 billion (U$64.8 million) for the first (September 2017 to December 2018) and NT$2.2 billion (US$71.3 million) for the second. The plan will expand public child care and education facilities, create friendly child care spaces, and provide care and education services at reasonable prices with guaranteed quality. In addition to easing the economic burden on parents, these efforts are expected to remove barriers to women's employment and help combat the birth rate crisis.
■ Community-based public nurseries for ages 2 and under: The plan aims to expand service capabilities by establishing 240 community-based public nurseries, setting up 45 nursery resource centers, and adding or upgrading 107 regional family (social) welfare service centers and 30 multifunctional welfare buildings. Bringing these community resources together with national resources will support families raising children and help lighten the burden.
■ Friendly child care spaces for ages 2-5: By the 2020 academic year, the plan calls for subsidies to add 299 public preschool classes at 50 schools, offer 6,000 children opportunities to attend public preschools, and provide 600 education and care service professionals with work opportunities. Using a one-time subsidy strategy for construction of new preschools, the plan will help local governments overcome the problem of insufficient space at public preschools, and give families access to affordable, quality and sustainable educational and care services.