PUTRAJAYA: Babysitters who are taking care of more than four children will need to register with the Welfare Department, said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.

Yeoh said that while it is difficult to regulate family members and friends who help to take care of children, those who are taking care of more than four children must register with the department.

“It is impossible to enforce regulations on family members or friends who assist in taking care of children. The scope is too wide and not practical. Now if a babysitter takes care of more than four children, they have to register with the Welfare Department,” she said at the press conference after the launch of the ministry’s guidelines and checklist for choosing babysitters.

The guidelines, developed with the Association of Registered Childcare Providers (PPBM) and the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for babysitters was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister.

Yeoh said 90% of daycares in the country are not registered with the Welfare Department and only a mere 4,378 or 11% are registered.

“This is a very small number if compared to the need of daycare, lack of qualified babysitters is also a problem. The ministry is always working with stakeholders including experts to find solutions,” she added.

The minister advised parents to immediately report any suspicious activities or anything against the law in daycares or the homes of babysitters by calling Talian Kasih at 19999.

She also said that parents should seek recommendations from friends or relatives or consult with the ministry or agencies like PPBM and ECCE for babysitters.

“Please do not look for babysitters online. Please do not let strangers, people you don’t know look after your children.”

The ministry is currently working to have a screening system in place for people working in the childcare industry by next year.

“With the screening system, parents will be able to look up a person’s record and see if they have any criminal history. It will be similar to an immigration blacklist or bankruptcy checks,” she said.