1. The Government is raising subsidies to make child and infant care services more affordable for lower and middle income families. Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced details of the new subsidy framework today. It complements other measures to defray the costs of child-raising under the Marriage and Parenthood Package announced on Monday.
2. Under the new subsidy framework, all parents will continue to receive a Basic Subsidy at the current rates for child care and infant care programmes. On top of the Basic Subsidy, families with a gross monthly income of $7,500 and below will receive more support in the form of an Additional Subsidy. Eligible families using full-day programmes will see an increase in their current child and infant care subsidies of at least $100 and $200 respectively, with lower income families receiving more.
3. 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 $3,500 and below. With this initiative, up to two-thirds of households can now benefit from higher subsidies on top of the Basic Subsidy.
4. Some lower income families may require further assistance on top of the Basic and Additional Subsidy. The Government will continue to provide other forms of assistance to those who need more financial support, such as a one-time start-up grant of up to $1,000 per child to help with the initial cost of placing a child in a centre. The grant covers items such as the deposit, uniforms, registration fee and insurance charges.
5. The new subsidy framework will take effect from 1st April 2013 and will increase Government’s investment in child and infant care by $105 million. This brings the total budget for Government spending in this area to about $360 million for FY13. Details of the enhancements are in Annex A.
6. Apart from increasing subsidies for parents, the Government will also expand the number of good quality, affordable child care and infant care places for lower and middle income families through enhancements to the Anchor Operator Scheme. The scheme will be extended to more operators, and receive enhanced levels of support. Details of the enhanced Scheme, including requirements for operators interested to apply, will be released by the 2nd quarter of 2013.
7. These enhancements are part of the Government’s efforts to improve the accessibility, quality and affordability of early childhood development programmes. The Implementation Committee on Enhancing Pre-school Education is reviewing measures to improve the pre-school sector, and will announce the details when ready.
Please refer to Annex A - Media Release on Enhanced Subsidies.pdf
for more details.