Singapore government will aim to strengthen support for young families, particularly in areas such as childcare provision, asserted Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, during a visit to healthcare workers and patients at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) on the occasion of Chinese New Year.
The Minister observed that the Singapore Government has been working on strengthening the availability of childcare, ensuring accessibility and quality, and keeping fees affordable.
It has been a tradition for Minister Josephine Teo to start the Chinese New Year with workers who keep Singapore going during the festive period.
Speaking further, Teo said, “Compared to 2012, childcare places have more than doubled. By 2023, the total number of places available will grow to 200,000. If you look at the rate at which the childcare sector has expanded, I think it has made a definite difference.”
The Minister applauded the role of young parents in bringing up the family. Through a Facebook post, she wrote, “I applaud the young parents. They can be sure that the Government will continue to strengthen support as Singaporeans pursue their aspirations for parenthood. In particular, we have been expanding access to good and affordable childcare, which is much needed by working parents.”
“I hope too that the community, including family, friends, employers and colleagues, will also chip in to make marriage and parenthood achievable, enjoyable and celebrated. Together, we can make Singapore a Great Place for Families,” she added.
Teo also reflected on Singapore’s fertility rate. It measures the average number of children per woman- which dropped to 1.16 in 2017, the second lowest ever recorded.
She said that figures for 2018 were being finalised and would be discussed during the upcoming Committee of Supply Budget debate in Parliament.
"But really, I think it goes beyond the numbers. What speaks loudly to us is that if you look at certain communities, actually the fertility rate has shown signs of improvement and so that’s encouraging. At the same time, we also get consistent feedback that what is really needed is to strengthen some areas of support," said Teo.
These include housing support, childcare and flexible work arrangements, said the minister, adding that these were other areas the Government will continue to work on.