Special Report 3
Friendly Day-Care for Children and the Elderly
Friendlier Day-Care for High Employment and Fertility
Based on a 2011 Survey of Women’s Marriage, Childbirth, and Employment and 2012 comprehensive income tax return data, women with higher education and income are more able to afford day-care expenditure whereas women with less education choose or were forced to leave the job market to take care of their children at home considering the opportunity cost. In the face of the extremely low fertility rate, Taipei City Government decided to take the Nordic Model as reference to construct an environment friendly for child-rearing by providing subsidies and a day-care service. In this way, the pressure of raising children on parents can be relieved, also assisting parents to return to the job market.
1. Continued Allocation of Childcare Allowance
In 2011, Taipei took the lead in Taiwan by granting NT$2,500 as childcare allowance to families with children aged 0 to 5 years. In 2014, a total of NT$ 2,656,417,954 was distributed to 112,545 children. In 2015, a total of NT$ 2,906,650,161 was distributed to 115,916 children.
2. Inception of the Friendly Day-Care Subsidy
To relieve parents from the pressure of day-care expenditure, the Department of Social Welfare referred to the Family Day-care Subsidy measures undertaken by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and provided a subsidy of NT$ 3,000 per month for parents sending their children to private day-care centers with fixed charge and no major violation. With this subsidy, parents will only need to pay NT$ 9500-13,500 in the future. This measure ensures that families in need of stable income are given more day-care choices. It also allows stay-at-home mothers to return to the labor market. Lastly, it also increases the supply amount of public day-care services in Taipei.
3. Establishment of Public Infant Day-Care Centers
15 publicly-owned and privately-operated day-care centers have been built to provide service for 625 children with 900 on the waiting list. Due to the high cost of venue establishment in the urban area, to increase supply of public day-care and coverage rate, the Department of Social Welfare started to trial 3 public infant day-care centers where 3 carers are assigned for 10 children aged under 2, increasing the public day-care capacity by 30 children.
4. Creating a Parent-Child Play Areas
To establish safe, free and community-based parent-child play areas of quality, the Department of Social Welfare set up 13 Parent-Child Centers to make child-rearing resource and counseling service easily accessible to parents and reduce their child-rearing pressure. In 2015, the number of people served was 1,045,428. In addition, considering the fast growth and varied learning needs for children under 6 and potential financial burden on parents from buying toys, books and child-rearing necessities, to promote resource cherishing and environmental friendliness, Taipei City took the lead by initiating the first Parenting Resource Center in Taiwan in April 2015, where parents can borrow and exchange second-hand toys and books. In 2015, the number of visitors to the center was 39,221 whereas the number of the visitors to the website was 198,928.
A Variety of Care Programs to Upgrade Services for the Elderly
The number of elderly people in Taipei City was 399,182 in 2015, accounting for 14.76% of the overall population. This rate is expected to reach as much as 20% in 2018, indicating that Taipei is becoming an aged society. According to the conclusion suggested in the 2013 survey on the living conditions of the elderly in Taipei, senior citizens must continue their interaction with the society, which helps them to successfully face their aging. Taipei City Government has been actively strengthening the community-based care and support system. This aims to provide services in an environment or community that the elderly are familiar with. As a result, the active aging and aging in place policies can be exactly put into practice.
1. Expanding All Kinds of Activity Centers and Upgrading Service Levels
In 2015, Taipei has put in place a total of 329 activity centers to provide different types of recreational activities, seminars and health promotion programs for the elderly. The Department of Social Welfare encouraged and subsidized the meal services in these centers. In 2015, 82 centers provided meal services for the elderly before or after the activities or classes. The purpose of these measures was to encourage the elderly to walk out of their homes and have more social interaction.
In 2015, a farming community was launched to help the elderly to learn how to grow vegetables and enjoy the fun of harvesting fruit and vegetables. The training of guardians for the elderly with dementia was conducted in order to improve the service quality of volunteers. Centers with service similar to day-care were opened so that the elderly with mild disabilities can participate in the recreational activities and have meals in these centers so as to delay the aging process. The upgraded of service was aimed at fulfilling the various needs by the elderly.
2. Combining the Resources of Senior Service Centers and Providing Outreach Service in the Community
14 Senior Service Centers were established in Taipei City, organizing activities including recreational events, evergreen courses, silver-haired VIP, etc. In terms of care for the elderly living alone, services including home visits, greetings and meal delivery were provided. As the nexus to connect with resource centers in the community, these service centers additionally offered professional services such as financial assistance, familial relationship consultation, legal service, mental support and care, and institutional settlement, etc.
Furthermore, it is estimated that there are 40,000 senior citizens with disabilities in Taipei. To promote their involvement in society, the Incapacitated Elderly Outreach Services program was launched. Social workers, therapists and volunteers organized monthly visits to parks in the community, offering 2-4 service sessions each month. During these visits, health consultation and recreational activities were provided for the elderly with disabilities. There was also instruction on improving the nursing skills of the carers. In 2015, 228 visits were organized, serving a total of 5,115 people.
3. Active Deployment of Day-Care Centers
17 Senior Day-care Centers were established, providing day-care service for 549 people per day in Taipei. The Department of Social Welfare is further looking for suitable venues to expand this daycare service in order to provide care service for the elderly with disabilities, recreational activities to promote the self-care ability. Family support groups were also formed to relieve the care-taking burden, reduce family financial pressure and enhance the momentum of family care.
On January 9 2015, the Seniors’ Day-care Center in Neihu was opened for service in the form of project-based commission by the Department of Social Welfare. The center was set up on the first floor of the community building, which is conducive for interacting and integrating with the community. On March 23, a Seniors’ Day-care Center in Beitou was built with local hot spring features .Walk-in style baths were designed and installed for easy access. This was a thoughtful design to maintain the dignity of the elderly and enhance their living quality.