Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Higher subsidies to make child & infant care more affordable

SINGAPORE: From April, lower and middle income families will enjoy higher government subsidies in child and infant care services, under a new subsidy framework.

The framework complements other measures to defray the costs of child-raising under the Marriage and Parenthood Package announced on Monday.

All parents will continue to receive a basic subsidy at the current rate of S$300 a month for child care and infant care programmes.

Families with a gross monthly income of S$7,500 and below will receive an additional subsidy.

Eligible families using full-day programmes will see an increase in their current child care subsidies of at least S$100 and infant care subsidies of at least S$200, with lower income families receiving more.

For example, a lower income household with a monthly income of S$2,500 and below will get an extra S$440 for a basic full-day childcare programme. This will bring its total subsidy to S$740.

The additional subsidy will replace the Centre-Based Financial Assistance Scheme for Child Care (CFAC) which provides child care related financial assistance for families earning S$3,500 and below.

Up to two-thirds of households will benefit.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced the new framework after a visit to YWCA Child Development Centre on Wednesday.

He said it puts Singapore comfortably in the top half of OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, in terms of affordability of pre-school services.

Mr Chan said the subsidies will cover a large part of costs, as the median cost of a full-day childcare programme in an HDB estate is about S$615.

The new subsidy framework will increase the government's investment in child and infant care by S$105 million and bring the total budget for government spending in this area to about S$360 million for financial year 2013.

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