For holistic development of children in Singapore, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will be reviewing its preschool subsidy framework, announced Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee.
Speaking on the sidelines of a visit to a community health and developmental screening event at Boon Lay, Lee said, “This is a review we do regularly. We want to ensure three things: accessible childcare, affordable childcare, and good quality childcare, regardless of the background of the families.”
“I think it’s good and it’s timely for us to take another look … (and) ensure that early childhood remains affordable for lower and middle-income children,” he added.
The Minister observed that the government will continue to invest in early childhood development given its critical importance to children’s long-term wellbeing.
Singapore government gives upto SGD740 in childcare subsidies per month to eligible households. The amount depend on the income of the family.
There was an increase of at least SGD100 in childcare subsidies when last review was made in 2013.
Meanwhile, Desmond Lee also interacted with the families and the volunteers at the community health event. It was jointly organised by ECDA and the Neighbourhood Health Service Kids (NHS Kids) where about 300 children of the area were offered a free, one-stop health screening.
In the programme, about 400 medical, nursing and social work students from local tertiary institutions also volunteered to provide screening services, supported by staff from healthcare and social service agencies.
There are many government programmes in Singapore which make childcare affordable. Apart from direct subsidies to families that require assistance, support is given to families through the Baby Bonus scheme, as well as through the Child Development Account, which is a special savings account that can help defray childcare costs.