June 3, 2009 Targeting the issue of low birth rates, the Taiwanese government implemented the Mega Warmth Social Welfare Program (MWSWP) in 2006 after its fertility rates dipped lower than most industrial nations.
A study in the journal Asian Social Work and Policy Review, published by Wiley-Blackwell, evaluates the reasons contributing to the low birth rates and discusses the impact of social policy on fertility rates - making particular reference to the MWSWP.
"Taiwan's Family Planning program of the 1960's was celebrated as a success story around the world. However, demographers did not expect Taiwan to reach its current state of zero growth rates within 26 years. The rapidly aging population and its accompanying negative socio-economic impacts has driven the Taiwanese government to engage in proactive plans to increase its population," said author Dr. Wan-I Lin from the Department of Social Work, National Taiwan University.
Directed at increasing national fertility rates, the MWSWP plans to incorporate paid paternity leave into the Employment Insurance Law, and enable fathers to receive up to 6 months of leave benefits. There are also plans to increase maternity leave its accompanying financial benefits.
The second measure includes plans to improve the quality of child-minders and subsidize child care services under the Children Education and Care (ECEC) Act. The Act seeks to place child care centers under the Ministry of Education in a bid to standardize equipment, raise quality of educational care, encourage parent participation and actualize service delivery to remote places.
Dr. Wan adds, "These measures will hopefully assist in increasing the fertility rate, or Taiwan will have to face the repercussions of an accelerated aged population - including issues such as health care, long-term care and old age pension burdens."
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- Wan-I Lin and Shin-Yi Yang. From Successful Family Planning to the Lowest of Low Fertility Levels: Taiwan’s Dilemma. Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 2009; 3 (2): 95 DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-1411.2009.00027.x
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