Developing a public care system is crucial in helping citizens balance their family care and job responsibilities, as well as to avoid commodification of care for children and the elderly. However, in Taiwan approximately 90% of children aged 0–3 were cared for by their mothers and other family members. Only 10% of these children received childminder services, which were provided mainly in the informal market based on private negotiations between parents and nannies without any intervention by the state. In 2008 the Ministry of Interior implemented the Program of Management and Subsidy for Childminder Services, and the state began placing childminder services under public governance to pursue an active social welfare policy based on the idea of universal social services. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the development and implementation of this innovative policy, as well as the challenges for reform.
This study determined that, without a social basis of social democracy, the reform policy was a result of the efforts made by state feminists, who not only advocated for the notion of a public childcare system, but also cooperated with state bureaucrats to design and plan the entire program. This program should not be considered merely as a cash subsidy or a management measure for childminer services; it is a vital infrastructure with the ideal of developing a public childcare system in Taiwan. Nevertheless, this study also revealed that this reform did not proceed smoothly. The controversy that arose during the planning process and the backlash after the implementation of the program showed that this reform had faced severe challenges.