Social welfare policy in Taiwan is based on the Three Principles of the People, aimed at establishing social security, distributing social wealth, and ensuring a peaceful and beneficial society. To meet the public's growing need for social welfare, the Provincial Government is actively expanding social welfare services to provide positive support for socially and economically disadvantaged groups and establish a caring and harmonious society. Our main programs are as follows:
The purpose of social insurance is to assist the citizen in the event of maternity, death, and the like. By using the economic power of the majority to compensate for losses and damage to the minority, peace and order can be protected from disturbance by a few individuals. At present, social insurance in Taiwan includes labor insurance, government employees' and their spouses' insurance, servicemen's insurance, health insurance for elected representatives, village chiefs and neighborhood chiefs, health insurance for low-income families, and farmers' health insurance.
Social assistance includes regular assistance and disaster relief. Recipients of the former include low-income families, orphans, the elderly, the disabled, and those who are incapable of work. Recipients of the latter are victims of disasters and their families.
Government work encompasses the investigation of low-income families, family livelihood supplements, medicare, free treatment for the mentally ill in low-income families, emergency and disaster relief, and raising of disaster-relief funds. The Provincial Government also encourages the private sector to become involved in social assistance and welfare.
There were 36,510 low-income families in 1993, a total of 96,599 people. In fiscal year 1995 the standard for a low-income family was one with less than US$189,48 per capita income per month.
The government has established day-care centers extensively throughout the province. In 1993 there were 3,372 day-care centers. Twenty-one counties and cities have provided day-care services. A total of 2,370 children have been taken care of. There were 25 care centers which accommodated 1,476 homeless children. In addition, we are actively supervising the improvement of facilities at day-care centers, training professional child-care personnel, establishing child care information service and improving the food at both public and private care centers. The revised Child Welfare Law promulgated on February 5, 1993, includes measures aimed at maintaining children's physical and mental health, encouraging normal development of children, and guaranteeing children's welfare. In order to meet the needs of present-day society, the central government put into effect the Juvenile Welfare Law on January 23, 1989. This law protects teenagers' rights and enforces parents' and guardians' responsibilities. Major policies are to provide juvenile school dropouts with study opportunities, to establish institutions to accommodate juveniles who have suffered from family misfortune, and to supply those incapable of work with livelihood support and medical assistance; to establish young people's welfare and service centers to pool resources for social welfare work among the young and reduce juvenile delinquency; to strengthen protection for children and aboriginal girls; and to promote drug prevention work among the young. The Provincial Government's child and teenager protection program calls for the establishment of both large and small scale rescue networks, with plans for vocational training and employment guidance for school dropouts and unemployed youths over 15 on a case by case basis to ensure long term youth protection, proper guidance, and fostering of normal character development.
The percentage of the elderly in the total population has been on the rise. In order to meet senior citizens' social, physical, economic and psychological needs, the government has been promoting welfare for the elderly. At present, services provided to the elderly include free health check-ups, publicly and privately funded care centers, discounts on public transportation, day-care services, living supplements for low-income elderly, assistance with hospital and nursing expenses for seriously ill elderly members of poor families, welfare services for home improvements, and free lunch. In addition, senior citizens are also encouraged to participate in social work, educational and recreational programs, and skill competitions.
For the homeless elderly over 70 years of age, benevolent homes have been established; at the end of 1993, there were 42 benevolent homes accommodating 8,648 people.
Services to the handicapped include the assessment of the condition of handicapped persons, the establishment of counseling centers and workshops providing skill training, offering of business loans and subsidized rehabilitation, and the improvement of public facilities for the handicapped.
To take care of the retarded and the multiple handicapped, the government has assisted county and city governments and private organizations in setting up medical care centers for medium to seriously mentally and physically handicapped persons to ensure that they receive due care in a loving environment. There are presently 70 public and private institutions serving the handicapped .
To consolidate women's welfare policy, the Provincial Government has begun a five-year program to provide women with more services for their welfare. These services include marriage counseling, social activities for unmarried men and women, seminars on parent-child relations, establishment of day-care centers in different sectors, women's talent contests, home professional training, emergency shelter networks, protection for young women, and women's participation in social activities. Owing to the present lack of manpower, the Provincial Government has decided to push for the creation of more part-time work and living room manufacturing for women. Employers and unions are requested to provide labor insurance for these women. The aim is to fully utilize the manpower in society.
The purpose of community development is to encourage members of a community to devote part of their time to community construction for mutual benefit that thereby improves the quality of life. It aims at completing basic community construction, promulgating the concept of environmental protection, beautifying the environment, wiping out poverty and crime, strengthening community spirit through moral and cultural development for a polite society, setting up community welfare services and expanding community welfare work, and encouraging cultural, recreational and sports activities for a fuller spiritual life. Through the end of fiscal year 1994, a total of 4,383 communities including 2,299,737 house holds had undergone community planning and community organization with an aggregate investment of US$1,058 million, improving the living environment of households throughout Taiwan.
In view of Taiwan's rapidly changing society and with the aim of preventing and solving social problems and establishing a social atmosphere of harmony and well being, the Provincial Government has appointed social workers to all counties and cities since 1977. Utilizing their expert knowledge of social work, they become closely involved with the local community and take the initiative in providing professional services. The services offered include individual advice, family and marriage counseling, and a range of services to children, young people, the elderly and the handicapped, as well as community services and voluntary services.
In the spirit of constitutional amendments on aboriginal welfare, the Provincial Government has taken steps to safeguard the aboriginal peoples' right to exist and to work, and to strengthen care for aborigines' livelihood. Under our aboriginal social welfare program, government and private resources are being channeled into appropriate livelihood guidance, vocational training, employment guidance and social assistance to provide a comprehensive welfare service.