The main goal of this study is to monitor, review, and evaluate the diverse and changing child care policies of the central and local governments, and reflect any relevant findings in the policies. To this end, the study reviewed the child care policies of the central and local governments; studied the priorities of local governments’ child care policies; and conducted an in-depth analysis on the current status of the accredited childcare centers. Based on the findings of this research, the study aims to identify future policy measures and the potential of further advancement.
Data on child care policies and major government-funded projects, such as provision and use of child care centers, budgets, details on child care professionals, evaluation and certification, and extended childcare, were collected and analyzed, and key statistical data were calculated as indexes. The central government, 16 city/provincial governments, and 232 local governments were surveyed for the purpose of this study. For example, the results indicate that 45% of children received full financial support in 2010. The child care budget accounts for 0.465% of GDP, and when education for young children and support for farmers and fishermen are included, the percentage jumps to 0.617%.
The child care policies of the central government and those of the local governments varied considerably in terms of their extended size, targets, methods and contents for supporting. As this may impact upon the framework of the nation’s child care policy, the achievements and future tasks of the current policies should be reviewed, and future policy directions should be recommended. The study categorized local governments’ child care policies into eight areas and 66 detailed tasks. The study surveyed the officials of 232 local governments regarding policy importance, effectiveness, and priorities. The results indicate that financial support in the form of cash, extra pay for teachers, and financial support for underprivileged families ranked high on the list of current priorities. This suggests that these policies should be adopted by the central government in order to narrow the gap between regions.
Among the local governments’ child care policies, officially certified childcare centers were selected for in-depth analysis. These child care centers have the potential to become an alternative to national and public child care centers. When private child care centers are selected as officially certified childcare centers, they received financial aid for the costs of labor, and in return, they must abide by the rules and policies applied to national and public child care centers. The study suggests that Seoul Type child care centers and Busan’s public child care centers should be expanded as they are feasible alternatives for national and public child care centers. At the same time, to enhance investment efficiency, the screening process and post management systems must be more thoroughly conducted. The public child care project led by the central government should require candidates to secure an expenditure structure similar to that of national and public child care centers. Additionally, it is necessary to develop tools for post management in order to ensure that the investments made actually enhance service quality. These findings and recommendations may be used for the implementation of the public childcare system, which is scheduled for 2011.