Bid to get home childcare centres in state registered

An extremely strict registration process has made it difficult for home-based childcare operators to continue providing the service. — Filepic

SELANGOR plans to get all home-based childcare centres to register with their respective local authorities.

The move is to ensure they follow safety guidelines set by the state government, said Selangor public health, unity, women empowerment and family committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.

“Institution, workplace and community childcare centres must register as required by the Child Care Centre Act 1984 (Act 308).

“From the input I have obtained from local councils, some home-based childcare operators do not follow the guidelines such as having sufficient space as well as measures in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

“So there is a need to keep an eye on home-based childcare.

“At the same time, we do not want to turn away childcare operators through strict registration processes,” she said at the state assembly sitting in Shah Alam.

She was replying to Michelle Ng (PH-Subang Jaya) who asked whether the state government would review the criteria for home-based childcare centres as it was now too strict.

Dr Siti Mariah said she had raised the matter with two former Women, Family, and Community Development deputy ministers, Hannah Yeoh and Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, as well as with the current Deputy Minister Aiman Athirah Sabu.

“I was told by the ministry that the state would be able to resolve this matter by changing the criteria in the respective local authorities.

“I have also written to the ministry to give home-based childcare centres a one-year extention to register themselves, as the validity periods of some of their certificates had expired.

“For those who have not registered, I urge them to do so,” said Dr Siti Mariah.

Datuk Mohd Shamsudin Lias (BN-Sungai Burong) asked a supplementary question about enforcement and state efforts to encourage the provision of more childcare service at workplaces.

“Childcare centres at the workplace fall under the existing Act, but those that do not have an area built specifically for childcare centres will have trouble getting a permit,” said Dr Siti Mariah.

“This is because a childcare centre needs to get the go-ahead from the local authority, the Fire and Rescue Department and state Health Department before getting operating approval.

“Childcare centres are considered an essential social service.

“Further discussions will be held on the appropriate guidelines for the registration of home-based childcare centres, taking into account current needs,” she elaborated.

She said enforcement for childcare centres fell under the Welfare Department and local authorities.

The Selangor state assembly sitting was adjourned sine die (indefinitely) after five days.

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