Local governments to monitor child-care centers

China is requiring local authorities to keep a record of child-care centers in a bid to enhance oversight over the booming sector.

A regulation released on Monday by four government bodies, including the National Health Commission, said for-profit child-care centers receiving children under 3 years old should register with local market regulators, while community child-care institutions should register with local civil affairs authorities.

All centers are also required to file information´╝Źranging from staff health certificates to fire safety certificates´╝Źwith local health commissions, who are responsible for detecting and reporting violations of industry standards, according to the regulation.

Information should be shared and exchanged in a timely manner among the local health authority and other departments to facilitate long-term supervision, it added.

The regulation takes effect immediately.

There are about 50 million children under the age of 3 in China, straining the country’s limited childcare options, Yu Xuejun, vice-minister of the commission, said in May.

Some parents have complained about a shortage of affordable options, making them reluctant to conceive.

Many regions have thus begun to address such concerns, such as by extending maternity leave and motivating social organizations and institutions to offer child-care assistance.

To better regulate the growing sector, the commission released two documents in October laying out specific requirements for child-care facilities and staffing levels, and specifying key responsibilities of centers.

The new rules will step up supervision and bolster the development of services targeting infants and young children, the commission’s department of population monitoring and family development said.

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