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Premier praises family-focused plan to strengthen social safety net

Premier Lai Ching-te on Thursday praised a new plan by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) to strengthen Taiwan’s social safety net as one of the most responsive and well-conceived proposals put forward in many years. Rather than focus on individuals as in the past, the plan instead puts families at the center, with an emphasis on risk prevention, integrated assistance and single-point service delivery. The premier’s remarks came after a briefing by the MOHW at a meeting of the Cabinet.

The plan aims to integrate and interconnect services provided through a range of systems, and make them more accessible and prevention oriented. This will aid in the assembly of an integrated, comprehensive and highly interwoven service network geared towards the control and elimination of risk factors that underlie social decay.

In her inaugural address, President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to strengthen Taiwan’s social safety net, so that future generations would enjoy a secure environment free from the threat of violence. Premier Lai noted that assisting individuals and families in need can hasten their escape from poverty and such dangers as domestic violence, child abuse and drugs.

The MOHW was instructed by the premier to move quickly to set up a platform to steer and coordinate central government policy, bring in agencies including the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Justice, initiate outreach and guidance work, and devote maximum resources to assisting local governments establish necessary mechanisms. All other ministries and agencies were directed to accommodate these efforts fully.

The key to the success of the plan will be execution, emphasized Premier Lai. Central and local agencies must make appropriate use of post-integration mechanisms and networks, and apply a variety of implementation strategies and enterprising approaches in order to adapt to local conditions and effectively weave together a pluralistic, community-based safety network focused on prevention and protection.