Special Report 4
A Friendly City for Raising Children
One Parent-Child Center per District to Transform Taipei into a Wonderland
“Hello! Welcome to Taipei Parent-Child Center. Is this your first visit? Do you need any help?” Warm smiles and greetings begin a pleasant parent-child journey of interactive games. Taipei, a modern and avant-garde metropolis, is no longer just a wonderful town for grownups. Now there are also excellent, safe, and free-of-charge parent-child recreation facilities for even preschool children. Since the first “Taipei City 131FUN Parent-Child Center” was opened on September 27, 2011, the city has become friendlier and more suitable for raising children.
A Friendly City for Raising Children
According to the 2009 Survey of Children and Youth Living Conditions in Taipei City, about 30% parents of children under 6 years of age thought “a monthly NT$2,500 childcare allowance” was what they would like the most, whereas around 20% expressed the need of help with child care and a convenient, safe, and fun place to take their children to. Therefore, the Taipei City Government consolidated the resources of different bureaus and departments and launched the “Have a Care-free Pregnancy” program in 2011. Besides providing citizens with long-term encouraging financial assistance, the city also put many efforts to build a safe and decent child-raising environment.
The “One Parent-child Center per District” policy was carried out through publicprivate partnerships. The Taipei City Government convened a cross-agency consultation meeting in which decisions were reached to provide the venues and hold public tenders to commission non-profit social welfare and child welfare foundations, organizations, or schools to operate parent-child centers.
Characteristics of Parent-Child Centers
1. Public-Private Partnerships
Existing private-run parent-child centers charge admission fees, and the quality is uneven. In response to the needs of child caretakers, the Taipei City Government came up with the creative idea of adopting public-private partnerships and commissioning good non-profit foundations or organizations to operate parent-child centers to build Taipei into a friendly city for child-raising.
2. Decent and Free of Charge Environment
Citizens can sign up to become members and make appointments to visit a parentchild center free of charge. Accompanied by workers trained in child care and education, parents and children can enjoy safe, free, and well-designed interactive games. Free childcare resources and counseling services are available, and the pressure of child-raising is alleviated.
To extend the reach of child care services, the city will set up parent-child centers in all administrative districts. The target is one parent-child center per district to ensure convenient access for all citizens.
4. Designated Purposes
The centers are set up for designated purposes. They provide parent-child interactive games, child-care counseling, parental education, and parent-child support, and hold child-care information exchange activities.
5. Outreach Services
Besides being open to visits during the business hours, parent-child centers also conduct outreach services. Various child-care resources and related welfare information are provided in poorer neighborhoods; trained personnel visit underprivileged families to teach them how to raise children properly.
Parent-Child Center Services
1. User Eligibility:
Children under 6 years of age and their caretakers can make appointments online. Each center is open from 9:30AM to 5:00PM, Tuesday through Sunday (the premises are sterilized on Mondays) and activities are held in sessions.
2. Service Items:
3. Parent-Child Center Regulations:
Diversified Services of Each Center
The first “Taipei City 131FUN Parent-Child Center” was opened on September 27, 2011 to provide a diversified “child fund experience space” for different age groups, to stimulate mental and physical development of young children, as well as to bring parents and children closer. The concept of child safety promoted by the Jing Chuan Child Safety Foundation, the operator of the center, was also adopted. Therefore, safe and educational activities were designed for parents and children to learn about child safety together.
That was the onset of the “One Parent-child Center per District” project. On August 8, 2012, Father’s Day, the Songshan Parent-Child Center was opened and became the only parent-child center designated for children under three years of age. Operated by the Child Welfare League Foundation, this center was so designed to impart warm feelings of home. Open space design was incorporated to create a warm and comfortable environment for parents and children to experience learning through daily life with personnel trained in child care and education, who can assist parents with doubts and problems encountered in child-raising.
Since February 2013, other centers have been opened. The Healthy Growth Foundation now runs the Zhongshan Parent-Child Center in which “Parent-child Theater” has been the focus. Through storytelling and acting, young children explore the world. Meanwhile, digital technology has also been integrated into the performance stage to allow parents and children to experience imaginative journeys.
The Beitou Parent-Child Center is under the charge of the Taipei Association for Educare Personnel. The special features of the center include a gigantic tree house for exploration games, a parent-Child kitchen, and scribbling on a glass wall with watercolors, then washing the paintings with water to see how the colors run in various patterns. The Datong Parent-Child Center is operated by World Vision Taiwan All Rights Reserved. There is a different themed experience activity each month; besides, storytelling and handicraft workshops are conducted every quarter to cultivate creativity and provide an aesthetic experience. The Wenshan Parent-Child Center is managed by the Taipei Children Education and Care Association. It is the first one dedicated to handicrafts and provides a variety of self-made toys of different functions to stimulate the imagination of parents and children when they play with the toys together.