Connect with us


Sun Xueling: Government trials childminding service for infants up to 18 months old

Government introduces a trial childminding service, complementing center-based infant care for 2 to 18-month-olds. MOS Sun Xueling unveils the initiative for affordable, reliable baby care at childminders’ residences, addressing diverse parental needs.



SINGAPORE: In the second half of 2024, parents with infants aged two to 18 months will gain access to an additional option for infant care.

This new initiative involves the introduction of a scheme designed to provide affordable and dependable services for the care of babies at a childminder’s residence, as announced by the Minister of State (MOS) for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling on Wednesday (6 March).

During the budget debate for the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Ms Sun unveiled the pilot childminding scheme in Parliament.

Under this initiative, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will financially support selected operators to ensure that the fees remain reasonable.

The primary objective is to maintain childminding fees at a level comparable to what a median-income family, after subsidies, pays for infant care at centres operated by anchor operators.

MOS Sun mentioned that this figure typically amounts to around S$700 per month.

She also highlighted that families can leverage the Child Development Account (CDA) to further reduce the expenses associated with this service.

She mentioned that additional details regarding this option will be disclosed later in 2024.

The CDA serves as a dedicated savings account for children, enabling the payment of preschool and healthcare fees.

Meanwhile, anchor operators benefit from government grants aimed at mitigating costs, including staff salaries, in exchange for adhering to fee caps and quality standards.

The pilot scheme, slated for a three-year duration, aspires to cater to 500 infants in its inaugural year.

MSF aims to subsequently increase this number to approximately 700 infants.

ECDA to appoint childminding operators for hiring childminders

During the pilot phase, the ECDA will designate childminding operators responsible for hiring the childminders.

Each childminder will have the capacity to care for up to three infants simultaneously, either at their residence or in a community space, such as a community centre.

MOS Sun emphasized that parents will enjoy increased flexibility in discussing their specific care preferences and requirements with the childminder.

She noted that the concept of childminders, sometimes referred to as nannies, is not a novel one and was more prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s.

In those times, some nannies cared for infants in their own homes, while others provided care at the child’s residence.

She highlighted that the reduced prevalence of childminders today may be attributed to parental uncertainty about where to find trustworthy childminders or concerns about the comparatively higher costs associated with childminding compared to other caregiving alternatives like infant care centres.

In contrast, European nations such as the United Kingdom, France, and Denmark have supported parents in accessing childminding services through financial assistance, including subsidies.

Recognizing this approach, MSF is launching a pilot initiative to provide parents with an additional choice for infant care.

The ministry will collaborate with appointed operators to expand infant childminding services in the country.

“Parents can have greater flexibility to choose what’s best for them, in terms of meeting their caregiving needs and preferences, ” said Ms Sun.

“For example, parents who may prefer a more structured setting during working hours may opt for infant care centres for their infants. ”

“Those who prefer more flexible hours or more individualised care in a home setting may opt for childminders.”

Recognizing the paramount importance of safety in parental considerations for childcare, the ECDA will conduct comprehensive background checks on operators and mandate adherence to specific service requirements. This entails the establishment of guidelines focusing on practices that ensure the child’s safety, requiring training for childminders in essential areas like basic infant care and first aid, and the implementation of incident management processes.

Ms Sun highlighted that background checks on childminders will encompass scrutiny for criminal records and potential child-related offences, as confirmed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). Additionally, ECDA will collaborate with operators to co-develop industry standards.

Addressing the current scenario, Minister Sun disclosed that approximately one in five infants is presently enrolled in an infant care centre.

To provide more options for parents, the MSF aims to augment centre-based infant care capacity by about 70%, equivalent to an additional 9,000 places, by 2030.

It’s noted that existing childminding services range in cost from $1,200 to $2,800 per month, varying based on the specific childminding arrangement.

Furthermore, it was highlighted that these services currently lack regulation, according to the MSF.

WP MP Gerald Giam advocates for subsidization of childminders’ wages

Gerald Giam, Workers’ Party MP for Aljunied GRC, sought clarification from the minister regarding the impact of the MSF newly announced pilot initiatives on informal and existing childminders or nannies.

In his earlier remarks, Mr Giam advocated for the subsidization of childminders’ wages as a strategic measure to incentivize increased participation in the scheme.

MOS Sun responded, emphasizing that the primary objective is to provide more options for parents. She clarified that if parents currently have a nanny in place, the existing arrangement can continue. To ensure a more permanent and sustainable program, MOS Sun affirmed that in situations where parents are content with their long-term independent childminder, they are encouraged to maintain that arrangement.

MOS Sun further explained that parents can also benefit from subsidies provided by the MSF, which is responsible for overseeing the pilot initiative.

Addressing Mr Giam’s query about the inclusion of existing childminders in the pilot initiatives, MOS Sun confirmed that the MSF is presently engaging with operators. The intention is for operators to participate, as it would be challenging for the MSF to regulate all individual childminders directly.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This is so scary. Get ready fr more child abuse cases. ! Better not to have children than give them to strangers to care for.

Another waste of citizen’s monies.I think she’d be better at making adult movies..

If only childminding is as “stimulating” as child creation, then we won’t be having this problem.

She knows the cost of local peasants engaging a domestic worker aka maid now, is super exorbitant so with whip lady Indranee giving the stats to declining birth rate, ah Sun is just trying to score points that she is ‘doing something’ to reverse the trend, hoping that she too will hit pay dirt like Chee Hong Tat and can become a full minister of sorts ,like useless Joesphine where ‘no place is too small for sex’ fame!😆😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣

Same thing as what corps are doing. They are call childcare services … Sama sama the same. No?!?

There goes the state 2 livelihoods as the State 1 monopolised all the trades ….

Then like kinderland, they will blame the teachers but the companies never closes … …