Taiwan Residential Child Care Alliance Creating Childcare Facility Model that Places Children's Rights First!
TRCCA advocates Self-discipline, Equality, Co-learning and Common good for social trust and sustainable development.
Control Yuan member Wang Yu-ling, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yu-chin, Judicial Yuan Juvenile and Family Court judge Lee Ming-hong, acting division director of the Social and Family Affairs Administration in Ministry of Health and Welfare Lin Zi-Rui, Taiwan Social Welfare League chairwoman Chen Jie-ru and 40 childcare facilities representatives across Taiwan were among the guests attended the founding ceremony for the alliance.
Manpower Shortage! Serious Challenges in Epidemic Prevention
Wu Xiao-ping, chairwoman of TRCCA, said that most of the childcare facilities take a family-based care model. The caregivers need to work 24-hour shifts. In addition to the restrictions on professional qualifications and recent altered labor regulations, the manpower needs have nearly doubled. At present, more than 90% of the childcare facilities nationwide are facing a serious shortage of caregiver manpower. The most worrying thing for childcare facilities is that when a child needs to be quarantined because of coronavirus, they will face the challenge of severe shortage of manpower and quarantine space.
The Legislative Yuan passed the "Special Act for Prevention and Treatment of Severe Special Infectious Pneumonia and Bailout Revitalization" on February 25th, 2020. The childcare facilities were notified that the Special Act does not apply for caregivers, providing direct care to the children, who cannot work due to self-management of health. The childcare facilities have long been inspected by the government with high standards, but their special resource requirements have been ignored. The alliance believes that the relevant ministries such as social affairs, education, health, labor, police, and justice should actively communicate and face the situation of childcare facilities. It is necessary to let childcare facilities receive appropriate attention and resources.
Insufficient Funding in Residential Placement!
About half of the residential children in Taiwan come from families that have suffered major accidents or have no one to rely on are referred by the local government social bureaus. Followed by children who are under protection or referred by the court due to custody. The childcare facilities provide services such as daily life care, psychological and behavioral counseling, after-school tutoring and family counseling. The monthly cost for each residential child is between $NT 53,000 (US$1,770) to $NT 66,000(US$2,200). However, the monthly subsidy fee given by the local governments in 2019 is around $NT 21,000 (US$700) per child on average.
The childcare facilities have to bear the heavy pressure to deal with the urgent child care needs on the front line and at the same time raise funds for the operating expenses to provide children a quality service in limited budget is a challenge for the childcare facilities.
The Last Line of Defense: Walk One More Mile with Vulnerable Children
Wang Yu-Ling, member of Control Yuan, who has made a project report on the childcare facilities, said that the report of the Control Yuan shows that many children can't find a childcare facility to settle down because some facilities don't have enough resources to run itself sustainably. For children to have a safe and secure environment, the government needs to invest more resources to take care of the children. Child care is the responsibility of the government, which should not be passed to the facilities.
Legislator Wu Yu-Chin mentioned that many childcare facilities have shut down due to operational difficulties, especially the personnel costs increased after the revision of the Labor Standards Act. She also asked the Ministry of Health and Welfare to calculate the resettlement cost clearly and provide a reasonable subsidy, allowing the childcare facilities to operate sustainably instead of transferring the cost to the facilities.
Lin Zi-Rui, acting division director of the Social and Family Affairs Administration in Ministry of Health and Welfare, said that the amendments to the Labor Standards Act, the Protection of Children and Youth Welfare and Rights Act, and the Juvenile Delinquency Act, as well as the applying of Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), do bring challenge to residential placements. Lin said that the government promises to establish a good communication channel through TRCCA. Lin believes that the goals of the government and the alliance are consistent which is to provide children in need a better environment for their development.
Despite a declining birthrate in Taiwan, the percentage of children in out-of-home placements has not fallen. Over the past decade, out-of-home placements have remained steady at about 12 of every 10,000 children. About 65 percent of children in out-of-home placements are in residential care, while the rest are in foster care. Therefore, TRCCA looks forward to making a better childcare facilities policies and environment to share the responsibility of caring children with the government.
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