Miss Cheng Li Hui
MP for Tampines GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in light of the recent case of a babysitter found guilty of poisoning two infants (a) what are the regulatory requirements to be a home-based babysitter in Singapore; and (b) whether the Ministry will look into regulating home-based caregiving services to protect infants and children from harm.
1. Home-based care arrangements are generally more informal and small-scale (compared to centre-based care), and are founded on mutual trust between parents and caregivers. Many parents rely on grandparents, relatives, friends or neighbours for such arrangements.
2. There are no specific regulations for such small-scale, home-based care services. Regulation, with its attendant registration requirements, may discourage such familial arrangements. Home-based care also tends to be decentralised, small-scale, and varied in nature, making it difficult to enforce a common set of standards in the home environment.
3. For parents who choose to engage these informal home-based care services, we encourage them to know their caregivers and conduct the necessary checks before doing so, such as obtaining and checking references from past clients. There are also legal safeguards in place against mistreatment of children under the Children and Young Persons Act and the Penal Code. For any cases of suspected mistreatment or abuse of children by centre-based staff or informal caregivers, parents can make a report to the police.