The first batch of 20 community-based babycare facilities will open by the end of November, taking the burden off 200-400 working couples and their parents.
Only one in five of the city's estimated 100,000 children aged between two and three are in professional childcare and the end of the one-child policy is putting more pressure on resources, according to a recent survey by the Shanghai Women's Federation.
Almost 90 percent of 7,500 local families with children under three said they needed childcare. And eight in 10 children are cared for by their grandparents — who don't want the responsibility, the survey said.
The new centers are a good start, but far from enough to meet demand, said Xu Feng, president of the women's federation.
The facilities will be built by district governments and run by community groups.
Many childcare facilities are in residential apartments and lack proper safety and supervision. The new centers will meet strict standards.
The new community-based childcare centers will be set up on the ground floor and away from polluted, noisy or crowded areas. They must be at lease 200 square meters and equiped with a sleeping room, living room, entertainment room, a bathroom and a kitchen. And they must have UV disinfection.
They must have monitor cameras inside and outside and routine fire, safety and health checks will be carried out.
Carers will be responsible for only 5-7 children and they must have a health certificate and professional qualifications, such as a nursing certificate.
Each of the new centers will have at least 20 children, aged 1-3. Applicants will have to show paperwork to prove they are too busy to look after their children themselves and to show the children are healthy. It is hoped the new centers will open until about 7pm. The federation has set a guideline price of less than 3,000 yuan (7) a month.
Jiang Rui, deputy director of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, said an important point of the program was "resource integration."
"We encourage people to fully use the current elderly day care centers. Actually, they can be used to provide childcare services in the afternoon and evenings," Jiang said.