Lower-income families depend on child-care centers and food

Health ministry officials were in San Rafael de Siquirres Thursday to inaugurate an expanded and remodeled Centro Infantil de Atención Integral.

The nationwide program that has nearly 200,000 lower-income children and their parents, is not well-known in the expat community but it is one of the more successful social operations run by the central government.  Such centers are being opened every month. Now there are more than 600.

This is where child care is provided for working mothers. And there is food for the children.

The San Rafael facility, like many others, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays. Child care there is provided for 10 children too young to go to school and some 15 children from 7 to 13, according to the Ministerio de Salud.

There also are more than 500 youngsters who benefit from meals or milk or food packages for the family. This center has been in operation since 1985, and the expansion and remodeling cost 146.5 million colons, about $293,000.

Because the centers are run by the health ministry, there also are programs of medical attention.

All the centers are under the auspices of the Dirección Nacional de Centros de Educación y Nutrición y de Centros Infantiles de Atención Integral.

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