An increasing number of people are arguing that the operating hours of child care facilities and children’s actual time spent at such facilities should be recognized as separate matters for the purpose of satisfying the diverse needs of parents, deciding a reasonable level of child care costs, and systemizing the child care support system. This study sought to examine the necessity of distinguishing operating hours and attendance hours at child care facilities, and suggests implementation and support measures to diversify the hours of attendance.
The law requires child care facilities to operate for 12 hours a day. However, there is no provision for actual time spent by children at such facilities, and as a result, the operating hours and children’s attendance hours are not recognized as separate matters. This places a heavy burden on teachers and forces children to attend facilities for longer than they need to. Current financial support to parents is based on a fixed rate of 12 hours together with their income level. Recognizing that child care service should be diversified and be able to meet the various needs of parents according to their working situations, the present study suggests that the rationality of the child care support system should be reconsidered by reforming the fixed financial support system.
To set forth new guidelines for policy direction, the study analyzed the existing materials and data, and surveyed opinions from government officials, experts, directors and teachers of child care facilities, as well as from the parents using these facilities. Based on our findings, child care costs were estimated. Children’s attendance hours were categorized into three types, and an appropriate level of child care costs for each type was calculated. The study proposes three options for reforming the financial support system. The first option categorizes attendance hours into three types and suggests a corresponding expense per type. It does not bring about changes to the current working environment of teachers. As a complementary measure for this option, classes conducted after 6 p.m. can be recognized as extended child care services. The second option is quite similar to the first one, however, it differs by bringing partial improvements to the working environment of teachers. The third option suggests the application of a time-based voucher for hours outside regular classes.
However, the study also suggests that diverse issues such as additional costs, the extra burden of administrative officials, and issues of screening working mothers should be considered. Therefore, such institutional changes in attendance hours must be implemented after developing responsive measures for these identified issues. Revising the support system to diversity the type of attendance hours and apply differential rates of financial support will 1) enhance the flexibility of the system and enable beneficiaries to choose the services according to their needs, thus enabling the system to meet the diverse needs of households; 2) enhance financial efficiency by providing reasonable standards; and 3) build a framework for applying a unified standard to child care facilities and kindergartens that have used different methods for the application of standard fees.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 영유아 보육시간 관련 현황 및 요구
Ⅲ. 영유아 보육시간 정책 방안 탐색
Ⅳ. 외국 사례
Ⅴ. 보육시간에 따른 보육료 지원체계 개선방안
Ⅵ. 맺는 말