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More Underprivileged Childcare Support

Posted November. 25, 2005 08:29,   


The government has agreed to implement a variety of measures in an effort to strengthen childcare support for underprivileged families, including single parent families, disabled families, and low income families.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced that it would positively consider an option to offer childcare grants to primary and middle school students from families making less than 1.48 million won (for a four-person family) per month. Currently, a monthly childcare grant worth 50,000 won is provided to each child under the age of six from such families.

Yang, Seung-ju, director of the ministry’s family policy department, said, “No childcare subsidy is being offered to primary and middle school students from low income families, primarily because they are already beneficiaries of compulsory education. But there is a need to provide them with subsidies, albeit a small amount, to help them cover other basic costs incurred, other than tuition.”

Furthermore, more low income families are expected to be entitled to childcare subsidies. Currently, low-income families earning less than 60% of the average income of an urban worker (a monthly income of 3.4 million won for a four-person family) receive childcare subsidies. The new measure will allow families making less than 70% of their average income to benefit from childcare grants beginning next March, and all families making less than the average income will receive childcare subsidies beginning in 2007.

The Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Family plans to unveil a package of childcare support measures for underprivileged families, including expanding state and public childcare facilities and establishing regional childcare centers, after reviewing the report on childcare support policies for underprivileged families which was put together by the Institute for Gender Research of Seoul National University, commissioned by the committee.

The institute proposed an option to offer 100,000 won in cash on a monthly basis for each student from single parent families, disabled families and low income families, by introducing a childcare subsidy scheme.

Kim, Ae-sil, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Family, said, “There is a pressing need to provide childcare support for single parent families, grandparent families, and low income families. The obstacle is a limited budget. We will make sure that substantial support will be provided to them, in cooperation with local governments.”

Kwang-Hyun Kim kkh@donga.com