These childcare facilities are designed to provide emergency childcare services during nighttime and holidays, and the online application system aims to help parents use nighttime childcare services with better convenience. That is an improvement from the past when the parents had to apply for the services offline to get the nighttime childcare support.
The “Neighborhood-based Night Childcare Centers” are available from 4 pm to 10 pm during weekdays for kids who attend childcare centers or kindergartens which do not run extendedhour services. The “365 Open Childcare Centers” provide 24-7-365 childcare services except for New Year & Lunar New Year holidays, Chuseok holidays, and Christmas, available for preschoolers over six months and under six years of age living in Seoul. There are currently four “365 Open Childcare Centers.” The Seoul Metropolitan Government will additionally designate six more 365 Open Childcare Centers by the end of this year.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said such schemes are to ensure the childcare environment where parents feel safe to send their kids to childcare centers. There has been a high demand for nighttime childcare services due to an increasing number of parents who work late at night, which is one of the characteristics commonly found in metropolitan cities.
According to a survey conducted by the Seoul Foundation of Women & Family, 13.4 percent of the respondents said they do not use the night childcare services because they are not able to find the services at the childcare centers they use, while 7.5 percent said they do not use them because they cannot use the services for hours they want.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has lowered the requirements for receiving the allowance for night childcare teachers and the support for personnel expenses in order to lessen the financial burden for childcare centers caused by running the nighttime childcare services.
Kang Hee-eun, Director of Childcare at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “Seoul expects the launch of the online application for night care as the first of its kind in the country to identify a potential demand for the services.” “We will strive to fulfil the childcare demand from working parents and families who work late at night by increasing the number of the extended-hour childcare centers, neighborhood-based childcare centers, and 365 open childcare centers.”