Minister reminds operators, parents to follow SOP for childcare centers

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Childcare, kindergarten and daycare operators, as well as parents, are reminded to comply with the stipulated standard operating procedure (SOP) as childcare services in states under Phase One and Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (PPN) reopen tomorrow.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun said that the reopening of childcare services was a good move that would help working parents.

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“Therefore, I hope the reopening of such services and these relaxations will be put to good use by operators and parents with full discipline and responsibility in accordance with the set SOP,” she said in a statement today.

Rina said her ministry, with the assistance of the Social Welfare Department and Health Ministry, would conduct frequent checks on childcare centres to ensure SOP compliance.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had made the announcement about the reopening of the childcare services sector earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff said in a separate statement that children orphaned as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic can be housed in Social Welfare Department institutions if they do not have guardians or relatives who can take care of them under the provisions of Section 17 of the Child Act 2001.

“A temporary court order will enable the children to be taken and placed with foster families/qualified and suitable individuals or a safe housing institution,” she said.

She said seven Welfare Department institutions had been selected according to zones for the care and protection of children who lost their parents due to Covid-19.

Siti Zailah said the initiative was among the steps taken by the ministry to provide assistance and support to the orphans, besides monthly aid to cover the children and their family’s living expenses.

She said the aid provided included the Emergency Assistance Fund and Children’s Fund in addition to the monthly Foster Child Financial Assistance of RM250 per child with a maximum of RM500 monthly for caring for two children or more for families taking care of these children.

“In addition, counselling services are provided for children who are facing emotional stress due to the loss of their parents or guardian. The counselling services are also provided to family members if they require them,” she added.

The ministry will also seek the assistance of local community leaders such as village chiefs, volunteers and child protection team members to provide continuous assistance and support to children and family members to ease their burden. Based on Education Ministry statistics, until September 13, 4,422 students under the ministry lost their parents or guardians due to Covid-19 and were orphaned by the outbreak.

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