To protect consumer rights, the Department of Consumer Protection, Executive Yuan (hereinafter referred to as the DCP) has conducted a joint inspection on 32 infant care centers with relevant authorities. According to the audit results, 6 have not met the standards for social affairs; 8 have failed in health items; 3 have failed in environmental protection items; 4 have failed in construction management items and 6 have failed in fire protection items. The DCP has asked the relevant competent authorities of local governments to further investigate the situations according to the law and urge the service providers to improve their unqualified parts as soon as possible.
The infant care centers are an important choice for modern young parents. However, there have been a large number of improper care issues in recent years, which have aroused great concern from all walks of life. To better understand the causes of the improper care issues, the DCP conducted a joint audit on the domestic infant care centers from March to April this year. Taking part in the joint audit on such items as social affairs, construction management, fire protection, and health and safety were the Department of Social Welfare, the Consumer Protection Officer and the relevant competent authorities from 8 municipal and local governments, including Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Taichung City, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, Changhua County and Hsinchu City. The following circumstances has been found unqualified in this audit:
- Social affairs: 6 centers failed to meet the requirements, mainly due to the lack of "information on public liability insurance and group insurance" and "first-aid kits (including expired medicine) and their management records".
- Health items: 8 centers failed, mainly due to the lack of "education and training on infection control for employees" and "kitchen hygiene (GHP)".
- Environmental protection items: 3 centers failed, mainly due to the lack of regular water quality testing for drinking fountains.
- Construction management items: 4 centers failed, mainly due to the lack of “declaration for public housing safety inspection visa”.
- Fire protection items: 6 centers failed, mainly due to the lack of evacuation and life-saving equipment (marking equipment, emergency and lighting equipment, evacuation equipment).
The joint inspection has listed 19 operators as unqualified, of which 11 have improved as of May 6 this year, with the rest pending in improvement.
In addition to asking the relevant competent authorities to guide the unqualified operators to improve their shortcomimgs found in this joint audit, the DCP has also asked the MOHW’s Social and Family Affairs Administration (SFAA), which is in charge of the infant care centers, to be responsible for the following matters: (1) to list as the “check and evaluation” items the setting of surveillance cameras and the water quality testing and maintenance devices for the water dispensers; (2) to sample and check the recorded contents of surveillance cameras on an irregular basis; (3) to formulate polices to encourage the infant-care service providers to reduce the teacher-student ratio and maintain professionalism by keeping the full-time nursery staff.