Dr Shahira Abdullah asked the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the average waiting time for Early Childhood Development Agency-approved infant care places; and (b) whether there are plans to increase the number of infant care places to better support working mothers.
1 Parents may register interest in a preschool for their infants via the Preschool Search Portal (PSP), ECDA’s online self-help search portal launched in 2019. While we strongly encourage all parents to use the PSP, this is voluntary and some parents may also directly contact their chosen preschools. Based on parents who have registered interest on the PSP over the past year, the waiting times for infant care places range between a few weeks to a few months.
2 There is a range of factors that affect waiting time. For instance, parents may have to wait longer if they prefer to send their children to specific centres. In addition, parents may register their interest earlywithout an immediate need for places as they have alternative arrangements, such as home-based care. Parents can also register their interest for multiple centres at the same time, regardless of whether their child is currently enrolled in a preschool.
3 Providing access to quality, affordable infant and child care remains a key priority for the Government. We will continue to increase capacity where needed to meet demand for early childhood services. By the end of 2022, ECDA will develop an additional 1,000 infant care places offered by Anchor Operators, mainly in Planning Areas with upcoming HDB developments for new families. This does not include additional infant care places which may be developed by other preschool operators to meet local demand.