Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who can use this emergency backup child care program?
Any full-time student at the University of
Pennsylvania who has dependent children is eligible. In addition, all University
post-doctoral fellows, and affiliates who are registered in the Biomedical Postdoctoral
Programs, are also eligible. All eligible students and post-docs must join
the University's Family Resource Center to have access to backup child care.
Joining the Family Center is free and can be completed
If you attempt to use the Emergency Backup Care Program and are not a full-time student or
eligible post-doc, you will not receive the University subsidy and you will
be charged for the full cost of the care ($30/hour). Full-time University employees
who are also part-time students should utilize the
care program offered by the University's Human Resources Department.
Q: When is it appropriate to use Penn's emergency backup child care services?
Whenever your child care responsibilities will interfere with your
ability to complete academic work and training and you need someone to
provide care for your children. Penn will subsidize your costs for up
to 5 days during the year (January-December). Because backup care is intended to support your academic work,
it is not available during Winter Break.
Q: What situations might be a reason to use emergency backup child care?
Examples of when you might use emergency backup child care include the
- your child's school is closed for vacation
- your daycare provider is closed
- your child is mildly ill
- your regular caregiver is sick or unavailable
- your academic training requires you to work late or on weekends
Q: Does my child need to be a certain age in order to receive backup care?
Children ages 17 or under are eligible to receive backup care
Q: When are child care providers available?
Backup child care is available in your home 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. A session of care is a minimum of 4 hours and maximum of 12 hours.
Q: What is the process for arranging child care?
Backup care is provided by Care.com. You must be
registered with the University's Family Resource Center in order to be
eligible for backup care. Registration
is free and can be completed online.
Students who are registered can visit the Care@work portal or call Care.com directly at
855-781-1303 to request backup child care. Identify yourself as a Penn
student or post-doctoral fellow. The child care specialist will confirm
your eligibility and discuss the fees for which you are responsible
(Penn provides a generous subsidy for these services, but you're still
responsible for a portion of the cost.) Your credit card information
will be taken down, and Care.com BackUpCare will identify a provider for
you who meets your specific needs. You will receive two confirmations:
- Care.com will call to tell you about your caregiver.
- The caregiver will call to confirm the date, time and location of
When the child care has been completed for the day, your credit card
will be charged the appropriate fees depending on the length of time
and the number of children cared for that day.
Q: When can I call?
The Care.com BackUpCare call center is available at 855-781-1303
during the following hours:
- Monday-Thursday: 7am-8pm
- Friday: 7am-5pm
- Sunday: 5pm-8pm
Keep in mind that the more time you give Care.com BackUpCare,
the more likely they can provide you with a caregiver that's
appropriately matched to your individual needs. In general, 24 hours
advance notice is preferred and usually sufficient, but Care.com BackUpCare
may be able to fulfill same-day care needs.
Q: Can I use care on a school holiday?
Yes, you can request care for school holidays and other days when school is not in session. But
you must call at least several days in advance for those requests; many people will need care on
those same days and if you wait until the last minute, Care.com BackUpCare may not be able to fulfill
your request. In addition to professional development days for teachers and school vacation
weeks which are determined by school district, the following are "high volume" days when there
are many requests to be filled:
- Martin Luther King Day (January)
- President's Day (February)
- Last week in August/first week in September
- Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (September/October)
- Columbus Day (October)
- Veteran's Day (November)
Q: How much do I pay?
When using a caregiver provided by Care.com BackUpCare, your co-pay is $5/hour. You pay by credit card after the care is completed;
Penn subsidizes the majority of the backup care costs.
Q: What if I need to cancel my request for care?
If you cancel once a provider has already been reserved for your
job, your credit card will be charged a $30 cancellation fee.
Q: What happens if I use my 5 days of care but still want to use the Backup care service?
If Eligible Individuals would like to use more than the 5 days of care, which is the
allowable limit through Penn Family Center's Backup Care benefit, they will pay
an hourly cost of $30.00 by credit card.
Q: Are backup care services available if I bring my children to a conference?
It depends. Care.com BackUpCare may be able to supply care if they
have providers available in the geographic area of your conference in
the United States. Care cannot be provided outside of the U.S.
For U.S. locations, call Care.com the same way you would
call for an in-home care arrangement. More advance notice is required
for non-local arrangements. Care.com will need to research
whether there are appropriate backup child care resources in the
community where you will stay. Once Care.com identifies a
caregiver for your assignment, you will be contacted the same way as
described above, your credit card information will be taken for your
co-pay obligation at the same rate as for in-home care, and you will
receive and orient the caregiver to the hotel space in which the care
will be provided just as you would to your home. Please remember that
this care only can be provided for academic-related activities in
another U.S. location.
Q: How do I know the childcare providers are good?
The Care.com screening process is thorough. Candidates are
screened for child care experience and interviewed. Care.com
reviews and evaluates the candidate's background and style via open-ended
questions and hypothetical scenarios. They determine the candidate's
knowledge of child development, limit-setting techniques, and the degree
to which the candidate shows warmth, creativity, know-how, humor, and
flexibility. Only those who meet the stringent Care.com BackUpCare
criteria and can produce at least three recent child care references
are invited to continue the process.
Care.com researches personal information, work history and child care references. All child care references are checked by phone and followed by a
social security verification, a criminal background check covering the previous seven years of work, and a cross-check of their name against the National
Sex Offender Public Registry. Candidates are also required to complete the Care.com nationally-recognized health and safety training program.
Successful candidates are oriented to agency rules, procedures and expectations. In addition, many caregivers are certified and trained
in infant and child CPR. Once the caregivers start working, Care.com follows up with all clients to ensure that they continue to
meet your expectations.
Q: How can I make the transition easy for my children?
Before the caregiver arrives, let your children know that a wonderful
playmate is on the way. Suggest that they show the caregiver their
favorite toy or book. When the caregiver arrives, introduce her warmly
to the children. If you are nervous, the children will pick up your
signals. Consider going over the house rules -- TV, snacks, videos,
bedtime -- with the caregiver and the children together so that the
ground rules are clearly set. It's important to review the emergency
telephone numbers with the caregiver. At the very least, provide the
number where you and/or your spouse/partner can be reached, the
pediatrician's name and number, a neighbor or friend to call in case
of an emergency, and a list of any allergies that the children may have.
Never sneak out the door. Say goodbye happily and firmly, and leave.
Coming back or delaying your departure will increase your children's
Q: When I call next time, can I get the same caregiver? Can I arrange care directly with her?
Care.com's goal is to have as much consistency in care as
possible for your children. They will be happy to contact your last
caregiver to see if she is available. And you may ask the caregiver if
she can return on another day BUT you must also inform Care.com BackUpCare
that you are doing so. All child care with Care.com BackUpCare
clients must go through them.
Q: Will the caregiver clean the house?
Backup caregivers come prepared to make sure your children are safe
and happy, but not to do regular housecleaning. If you're interested in additional services consider signing up for a FREE Premium Membership at pennfamilycenter.care.com
Q: Who can I contact for more information?
Contact the Family Resource Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact Care.com at 855-781-1303, or visit their
for more information.