National Chengchi University, Taiwan, Republic of China
In accordance with the discourse of parents’ ‘free choice’, some governments have provided various policy options for parents to choose and make childcare arrangements. Nevertheless, there are still debates on whether governments should subsidise informal childcare, such as children cared for by their relatives. As subsidy policies for relative childcare are comparatively scarce, studies on this issue are also relatively limited. In order to fill in this gap and understand how these policies affect families with young children, this paper draws on the experience of relative childcare subsidy in Taiwan and explores the issues related to this policy. The Taiwanese government expanded the provision of childcare subsidy from childminder childcare to relative childcare in 2012. This paper reviews the policy making process to analyse the backgrounds, discourses and rationales behind this policy. Moreover, it investigates the implementation of this policy to demonstrate the policy effects and problems in implementation. The aims of this paper are to address the following research questions: How does the relative childcare subsidy policy restructure the childcare responsibilities between the state, the family, and the market in Taiwan? How could relative childcare subsidy policy affect the gender relations, employment and childcare patterns of families with young children? What are the potential problems when the state regulates family childcare? This paper adopts documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews to investigate these questions. The findings of this research can provide empirical experience and contribute to the understanding of informal childcare subsidy policies.