Lawmakers passed the Child Day Care Center Bill-2021 in parliament on Wednesday, making it mandatory to get approval from government authorities to set up child daycare centres.
According to the bill, it would be a crime for anyone to run a child daycare centre without approval and registration. The bill provides for two years imprisonment and a fine of Tk10 lakh.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs, Fazilatun Nessa Indira, placed the bill in parliament with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
The law provides for a maximum of a 10 year jail sentence if a child goes missing from a daycare centre. A fine of up to Tk5 lakh can also be imposed alongside the jail term.
Furthermore, if daycare authorities concerned conceal information about an infectious disease spreading at a child daycare centre, it will result in imprisonment for six months or a fine of Tk1 lakh.
The bill states that children, or in some cases children with special needs, must be provided with the needed services and facilities, health protection, safety, entertainment, education, and a conducive environment. And the centres will have to exchange views with the parents of children every three months.
As a result of this law, governmental, semi-governmental, autonomous and non-governmental organisations will be able to set up and run child daycare centres with registration.
All child daycare centres that are being run now have to get registered within six months of passage of the new law. Then all child daycare centres will come under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.
Regarding the purpose and reasons for the bill, Fazilatun Nessa said the number of joint families in Bangladesh is gradually decreasing and the number of single families is constantly increasing.
She said the need for such centres is increasing day by day as the number of working and professional mothers is on the rise in the country.
The state minister said people working in government, semi-government, autonomous and non-government organisations have to stay out of their homes for most of the day.
She said, currently Bangladesh has 119 daycare centres under the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and 20 under the Ministry of Social Welfare.