Part-time child care aims to help busy parents

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Part-time child care aims to help busy parents

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on Wednesday it had notified local authorities that 143 additional day care centers would soon be operating temporary child care services.

That means more parents who need limited baby-sitting services will be able to take advantage of government support.

Currently, only 100 child care institutes provide the service.

Part-time child care service at the newly designated institutes is expected to be available starting in April, which brings the total to 243 participating child care centers nationwide.

The service is offered to help parents who need day care center service for their children, but not necessarily for the entire day. Children between 6 months old and 3 years old are eligible.

Since its launch last July, the service has become increasingly popular among parents because it allows them more flexibility.

To receive monthly aid from the government - between 100,000 and 200,000 won ($88 to $176) - parents previously had two options: either send their children to a full-time child care center or take care of them at home.

According to a survey by the ministry and the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education, which was conducted from September to December, 67 percent of 665 parents responded that they were satisfied with the temporary child care service.

For the service, parents must pay a fee based on how long their child stays at a day care center. The cost is typically 4,000 won per hour, with the government covering a portion of it.

Families receiving financial aid from the government are only required to pay 2,000 won per hour.

“This year the ministry is aiming to allow more parents to use the service more easily and conveniently,” a ministry official said.

One child care teacher may take care of three children younger than 2 years old, and five children between 2 and 3 years old.

“The temporary child care service is a good policy to support parents who take care of their child at home because the current system only focuses on a full-time child care center,” said Seo Mun-hui, a researcher for the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

Visit www.childcare.go.kr to find a child care center that supports part-time service.

BY RHEE ESTHER [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]

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