Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Social and Family Development

New flat ready, but not childcare centre nearby

Children at Presbyterian Community Services Tampines Childcare Centre.
Children at Presbyterian Community Services Tampines Childcare Centre. PHOTO: ST FILE

Engineer Xavier Ng, 34, collected the keys to his new flat in Yishun last month, but has yet to move in.

This is because the childcare centre nearest to his new home has not opened. He registered with five other centres nearby too, but there were no vacancies.

He told The Straits Times: "I feel very helpless. I don't know how to make arrangements so that I can send my daughter to a childcare centre while my wife and I go to work."

His wife often works overtime, while his job sometimes requires him to go to other areas, so they want a pre-school near their home instead of near their offices.

For now, they are staying put at his parents' flat in Bedok, as their two-year-old daughter is enrolled in a centre nearby.

Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) said in Parliament yesterday that many residents in her ward moved into their new flats, but their children are still in centres near their previous homes.

"This is because the childcare centre in the (new) estate is not ready. So for those few months, they have to keep sending the child to the old childcare centre, which could be in another part of Singapore."

She told The Straits Times that she has heard about five such cases per month in the past six months.

Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Faishal Ibrahim said the authorities will work to bring forward the completion of childcare centres for new Housing Board blocks "as much as possible".

Mr Ng said: "Moving into a new house should be a joyous occasion, but it's more difficult now with having to find a childcare place."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'New flat ready, but not childcare centre nearby'. Print Edition | Subscribe