The Abolition of Kodomo no Ie Jigyo (After School Care Programs)
From “Kazenoko Letter” No.413 - June 2012

 “Could you please keep my child somewhere in the office until I come back?” Ms. T was worried her only child M would become an after school latchkey kid and begged me after the daycare center farewell ceremony. Ms. T is a single mother and needs to work. There was nowhere that conducted an after school care program in our district around this time.

  With this as an impetus, it was in 1966, 46 years ago, that we started the Kazenoko after school care program with three children. There was no subsidy from the government at this time. Since then, “Latchkey kids” have gradually become a big social issue. There was one tragedy in Hiraoka City in which a latchkey kid who was at home alone was killed. The issue of delinquency among “Latchkey kids” was also raised.

 In 1989, Osaka City approved after school care programs by social welfare institutions run as Kodomo no Ie Jigyo (After School Care Programs) and started to offer subsidies. Kazenoko Jidokan received a subsidy of \4,600,000 last year. However, we have 50 students registered, and three full-time working staff. Therefore, every year we are in the red and need to cover this ourselves in order to continue running this service.

 At the beginning of this year, Osaka City disclosed their intention to abolish Kodomo no Ie Jigyo by the end of next year. They are going to deal with these institutions which provide Kodomo no Ie Jigyo by including it in the Rusukatei Jido Taisaku Jigyo (Countermeasure Service for Children Home Alone). In terms of operational costs, it is unthinkable to put unauthorized centers in the same category as centers run by a corporation. We face a fateful crisis in our 46-year history, expecting this significant subsidy reduction.

 There is a measure for another type of after school care program that uses elementary schools, called Ikiiki Houkago Jigyo (Ikiiki After School Care Service), but we have big doubts about this service. It will be more than a little burden on a child’s mind, because they are tied to the school for a long period since the morning and then will have to stay in a similar classroom again after school. I still think it is desirable for a child to be released from school and be supported in the community. From this standpoint, it is disappointing that community welfare service Kodomo no Ie Jigyo will be abolished.

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