Caring for Your Family

Penn is committed to helping faculty and staff maintain a balance between work, personal goals, and family responsibilities. You can take advantage of a wealth of family-friendly programs to meet your everyday needs.

ON THIS PAGE:

Penn Bright Horizons Portal

Access child and elder care benefits and support on Penn's Bright Horizons portal. Use your Penn ID number to register for an account.

Starting and Growing Your Family

  • Adoption Assistance helps ease the financial impact of bringing home a new child by providing reimbursement for up to $5,000 in eligible adoption expenses.
  • Flexible Work Options offer creative solutions for balancing work and family demands.
  • Carrot Fertility provides inclusive, comprehensive fertility and family-forming benefits that support wherever you are on your journey.
  • New Child Benefits give you access to a wealth of resources when you bring home a new child.
  • Lactation Support Program can help you make a smoother transition back to work when you're chest/breastfeeding your newborn.

Childcare Resources

Penn’s Backup Care Program

Penn’s Backup Care Program offers benefits-eligible faculty and staff up to ten days of subsidized backup childcare (minimum four hours) per fiscal year. Care can be offered in your home or in a childcare center including Bright Horizons centers, with some of the cost covered.

To register, call 877-BH-CARES or go online to the easy-to-use Bright Horizons Portal and enter your Penn ID, first and last name to create your Penn Bright Horizons account.  Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance.

  • Center-based care is $15 per child/per day.
  • In-home care varies based on your annual base salary ($5 per hour-$60,000 and below; $8 per hour-greater than $60,000).

Back up care days can be exchanged for virtual camp (children 3-12) or tutoring (the whole family). 

  • Participate in interactive virtual camp activities available through the Bright Horizons Portal. A backup care day is utilized; no copay for virtual camp.
  • Access virtual tutoring support through Varsity Tutors or Sylvan Learning in over 300 subjects, including test prep. For each back-up care day, you can exchange a 4-hour block of virtual 1:1 tutoring from subject matter experts with flexible scheduling options. Tutoring is also open to adult learners.

If you have a child with special needs, you can use a known caregiver for backup care and be reimbursed up to $100 per day towards the cost of care. This is called Out-of-Network Care and counts as using one of your 10 available Back-Up Care days per year.

Caregivers, Babysitters and More

Hiring Sitters
Fill gaps in care by searching for and hiring caregivers using your free Sittercity membership available on Penn's Bright Horizons Portal.

Before-and After-school Care and Nanny Placement
In the Bright Horizons Portal, access to Right at School to find before-and after-school care. A discount is covered by your Penn benefit; the cost of services is covered by you. You can also use Jovie, a high-touch nanny placement service.

On Campus and Local Childcare Centers

Proximity of childcare to work or your home can make your life easier. The Penn Children’s Center is for children ages three months to five years. The center is made available to all members of the University and surrounding communities, with preference given to staff, faculty and students of the University. Tuition for the center is offered at a discount for Penn faculty and staff and their families.

Other Penn-affiliated centers include:

In addition to these Penn affiliated centers, there are more than 5 other centers within 10 blocks of the University City Campus. To find other childcare centers close to your home or work, you may use the  Bright Horizons Portal or COMPASS, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania childcare and early learning program search platform.

Education Support (K-6) and Summer Camp

Use the Bright Horizons Portal or call 877-BH-CARES to help find a childcare center, a learning center to support school-age children, or a summer camp.  Special discounts are available through our Bright Horizons partnership:

  • Preferred enrollment at select Bright Horizons child care centers for full-time care and tuition discounts are available at partner centers including Kindercare centers (10%). 
  • Discounted tutoring and test prep services through Varsity Tutors and Revolution Prep.
  • Discounted summer camp options: Bright Horizons is offering discounts at several quality summer camps where children can learn about nature, science, cooking, music and more. Programs include Steve & Kate’s Camp, Code Ninjas, MarcoPolo, and more

To access these discounts, make reservations through the Bright Horizons Portal, or download the Bright Horizons App. When registering for the first time on the back-up care mobile app, enter these University credentials: Username: Penn. Password: Benefits4You.

Please note that Penn does not endorse these centers, caregivers, or resources, nor does the University screen any services or caregivers that may be available through these resources. You and your family should screen any child-care centers, caregivers, and facilities for your children thoroughly. These services are being included for reference in this communication as a convenience, for the consideration of our staff and faculty. You should take time to screen and determine whether any resource is appropriate for you and your family, and to ensure your child’s development and safety.

Adult and Elder Care Resources

Penn offers benefits-eligible faculty and staff access to resources and programs to navigate elder care.  Resources include consultations and resources, advocacy assistance, legal and financial consultations, and connections to peer support.

The Backup Care Program

Benefits-eligible faculty and staff have access to subsidized backup care for adults age 18 and older in your immediate or extended family, whether or not they live with you. Adult care services can be provided at the family member’s location, even if it’s in another city.

Self-care is available in the event you need assistance yourself.

To register, call 877-BH-CARES or go online to the easy-to-use Bright Horizons Portal and enter your Penn ID, first and last name to create your Penn Bright Horizons account. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance.

Caregiver Search

Penn’s partnership with Bright Horizons helps Penn faculty and staff search for and hire adult caregivers through a free Sittercity Membership.  Go online to the easy-to-use Bright Horizons Portal and enter your Penn ID, first name and last name. The costs of finding care and a background check are covered by your Penn benefit; the hourly costs for care are covered by you. 

Personalized Care Coaching

Get personalized guidance from a Bright Horizons Care Coach through Bright Horizons Adult Care. Care Coaches help you navigate the complex maze of adult caregiving, providing personalized support and access to a web-based care planning and communication tool. Get the ongoing support you need with a personal touch, wherever your loved ones may live. The benefit provides:

  • A dedicated and experienced Care Coach to provide you with information and resources near your loved one
  • Coordination of care through an online platform
  • In-home needs assessment, and referrals to legal/financial services

Penn Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program covers you and your eligible dependents.  Eligible family members can access up to eight free counseling sessions, per distinct issue, per year, as well as free financial and legal consultations.  Counseling is available through text, chat and video as an alternative to face to face or telehealth interactions.  Schedule an appointment through Penn Cobalt or by calling 1-866-799-2329.

Healthcare Advocacy

Health Advocate personal advocates can help you and your family facilitate care, locate care facilities and support, and provide guidance with Medicare.

Connect With Parents, Caregivers, and Resources in Your Community

Parents, co-op caregiving groups, and other members in the Penn community are connecting to work together to support childcare, find summer camps and other caregiving needs. 

  • Parents@Penn Facebook Group is a community group for Penn staff, students, postdocs, faculty, alumni, and partners.
  • Carefully is a cooperative childcare app, helping you to coordinate free, flexible childcare within a trusted network of other parents. 

Please note that Penn does not endorse Carefully, any Nextdoor or Facebook groups, nor does the University screen any services or caregivers that may be available through these resources.  You and your family should screen any child-care centers, caregivers, and facilities for your children thoroughly. These services are being included for reference in this communication as a convenience, for the consideration of our staff and faculty. You should take time to screen and determine whether any resource is appropriate for you and your family, and to ensure your child’s development and safety. Use of Carefully and their services are subject to Carefully Terms of Use. 

Additional Resources

Education Resources and Webinars

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)