Special Report 3
The Taipei City Government Hopes to be a Strong Supporter of Families Raising Children
“Have a Care-Free Pregnancy” Program Achieves Excellent Results in 3 Years
After giving birth to twins a year and a half ago, two adorable girls also bring twice the economic pressure, and the new mother and father showed signs of worry among their joy. Luckily, the Taipei City Government’s Have a Care-free Pregnancy Program was there to help them with their living expenses. “The program is like having the government help take care of your children” she said. The Taipei City Government will continue to implement the Have a Care-free Pregnancy Program so that it can be like parents to couples raising children.
Taipei City Government Invests NT$8.6 Billion Over 3 Years to Support Child-Raising
The number of new born babies in Taipei City dropped below 20,000 for the first time in 2009 with only 19,403 new born babies. Economic pressure has kept young couples who want to have babies from doing so. After the Taipei City Government launched the “Have a Care-free Pregnancy” Program in 2010, the number of new born babies grew to 25,132 in 2011, a 35.6% increase compared with 2010, the highest in the country. The number of new born babies further reached 29,498 in 2012, a 59.2% increase from before the project was implemented. Taipei City had the highest birth rates in Taiwan for two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012. Even though 2013 was not the year of the dragon, the number of new born babies still reached 26,710, a 44.1% increase compared with 2010. This represented a birth rate of 0.91%, higher than the national birth rate of 0.778%, and put Taipei City at the top of Taiwan’s five special municipalities.
The Have a Care-free Pregnancy Program combines civil affairs, social, education, workplace, and medical systems. The Taipei City Government immediately offers mothers a subsidy of NT$20,000, provides a child-care allowance of NT$2,500 a month before the child reaches the age of 5, and subsidizes kindergarten tuition. For every baby families will collect roughly NT$195,086 in subsidies. The Taipei City Government also expanded after-class care, post-nuptial and prenatal physical check-ups, maternal serum screening, encourages enterprises to establish child-care facilities, and provides child-raising friendly parks. Married couples who want to have children should take a good look at what Taipei City Government has to offer!
Subsidy of NT$20,000 for Every New Born Baby
Once a baby is born, mothers can apply for a subsidy of NT$20,000 when they are registering the birth of their baby. The subsidy will be transferred to the mother’s account to thank her for her hardships. The Taipei City Government set up a single window for mothers to also apply for child-care allowance at the same time, reducing time spent in traffic and application.
Monthly NT$2,500 Child-Care Allowance for Families Raising Children
The Taipei City Government began issuing a monthly child-care allowance of NT$2,500 for children in the ages 0-5 on January 1, 2011. This is the first child-care allowance to be issued in the nation and requires application. Qualified families may receive the allowance until the child reaches the age of 5. This long-term financial aid helps families raising children.
From Nurturing to Education, Extending National Education to Kindergarten
Subsidies are provided for kindergarten tuition to ease the financial burden on parents. Children whose permanent address is registered in Taipei City, have reached the age of 5, and are in kindergarten are eligible for a subsidy of NT$12,543 per semester for tuition at a public kindergarten or NT$17,543 per semester for tuition at a private kindergarten.
Satisfying the Needs of Urban Life, After-Class Care Allows Parents to Have Peace of Mind at Work
In the light of the child-care needs of dual income families, the Taipei City Government subsidies “after-class care classes” for public kindergartens and elementary schools. The classes will take care of children until 6:30PM or 7:00PM if the child is in elementary school, so that parents won’t need to rush to pick up their children after getting off from work.
Providing Post-Nuptial and Prenatal Physical Check-Ups Free of Charge
The Taipei City Government provides post-nuptial and prenatal physical check-ups and maternal serum screening for a healthy next generation! Married couples are eligible for prenatal physical check-ups free of charge; pregnant women are eligible for subsidies for maternal serum screening during early (9-13 weeks) or mid (14-20 weeks) stages of pregnancy, so that they will have a healthy baby.
Visiting Enterprises to Encourage Child-Care Facilities or Measures
Taipei City enacted the Regulations on Child-care Subsidies to increase incentives for employers to provide child-care services and lift the child-care burden on workers. The “Business Service Mission” was established to encourage enterprises to implement childcare measures, and to promote the “Award for Best Companies to Work For,” which gives consideration to child-care measures.
The Only Child-Raising Friendly Parks in Taiwan, Sharing Community Resources
The Taipei City Government established 175 child-raising friendly parks, 4 service locations, and 6 parent-child centers and child care centers in 2013, so as to lift the burden on care-takers and diversify community child-care resources. These places provide a safe environment in communities for parent-child games and interactive courses, improving parent-child relationships and providing opportunities to exchange nurturing information. This measure provides residents with a friendlier child-raising environment.
In the 3 years up to the end of 2013, 75,024 mothers had received subsidies for birth; 315,455 children benefitted from the child-care allowance; 111,505 children received subsidies for kindergarten tuition; 31,801 kindergarten and elementary school students benefitted from afterclass care; and 242 child-raising friendly parks were established in communities by the “Have a Care-free Pregnancy” Program, serving a total of 624,153 people.
Residents Find the Policy Thoughtful and Practical
The program has a total budget of NT$8.6 billion, all of which will be spent on families with children, benefitting 1,200,000 people. Many families have felt Taipei City Government’s intention to support pregnancies. Taipei City residents Ho Wei-min and his wife Hung Tsai-yen said that the “Have a Care-free Pregnancy” Program helps people who need it, “at least we will have the money to buy milk powder” they said. The couple unexpectedly had twins. They like children and turned from disbelief to being pleasantly surprised, but milk powder and diapers became a considerable expense. Hung Tsai-yen laughed when saying that families with 1 child drink 1 can of milk powder a week, but her two daughters drink 1 can of milk powder in 2 and a half days. This is when the child-care allowance comes in handy. Many parents find the direct financial aid and care measures thoughtful and practical. The “Have a Care-free Pregnancy” Program also lifts the burden on new immigrant families. Kao Ting-wen and Kao Mei-ping from Indonesia have two cute boys. Their 4 year old son is in kindergarten, and they collected the subsidy for birth for their 1 year old son. Their 2 children gives them a child-care allowance of NT$5,000 per month, which lifts their financial burden.
Thoughtful, Thorough and Comprehensive Program Gains Approval from Citizens and Public Opinion
The Have a Care-free Pregnancy Program includes one-time and long-term measures. It is the first integrated cross-department program implemented by a local government to encourage child-raising. It has the highest budget and most measures are a first in Taiwan. After being implemented for 3 years, the number of new born babies has significantly increased, which greatly contributes to making the city younger. In the 2013 Child-care Survey of Six Special Municipalities of Education, Parenting, Family Lifestyle , the Taipei City Government placed first overall and in each area as well, and was recognized as the “most suitable city for having children.” Citizens felt the heart that Taipei City Government put into implementing the “Have a Care-free Pregnancy Program.” The Taipei City Government will continue to implement child-raising friendly measures to share the pressures of parents, and create a child-raising friendly environment from various aspects, so that it can be like parents and a strong supporter to couples raising children.