Backup Care

Juggling your personal and professional lives can be especially challenging if you’re a caregiver with multiple responsibilities—and even more so when difficult care needs arise that will interfere with your ability to work. Penn’s Backup Care program can help when your babysitter cancels at the last minute, your child has a school holiday or inservice, an elderly parent is visiting and can’t be left alone, or your spouse/partner needs assistance after surgery.

Through our partnership with BackupCare, you can have temporary backup care in your home, in a childcare center, at an out-of-town business location or at an adult relative’s residence any time (day or night, seven days a week, including holidays) from a caregiver who meets your family’s specific needs and expectations.

Read on for more information, or visit the FAQS (child care, adult care, or senior care) for complete details.



While not required, we encourage you to register with BackupCare in advance of requesting an assignment. This way, basic information about you and your family is in the system including your home address, the names and ages of your children, whether you have pets, etc.

To register, just call 1-855-781-1303 or go online to the easy-to-use registration system at

Eligibility and Cost

Benefits-eligible faculty and staff members are allowed up to ten days of subsidized backup child or adult care per fiscal year (July 1-June 30). Backup care can be expensive, but Penn substantially offsets your cost through a subsidy program that depends on your annual base salary ($5 per hour $60,000 and below; $8 per hour greater than $60,000) for in-home care and $15 per day for backup care in a childcare center vetted for backup care. Fees also vary based on factors such as the number of hours you arrange for, the number of family members who receive care, and whether special needs exist. There also can be additional costs if the care is requested on a holiday. BackupCare will go over the costs with you when you finalize the care arrangements. When you request care, you will be asked to provide credit or debit card information. A co-pay will be charged to your card only after the care is completed. Please keep in mind that cancellation fees apply if a care arrangement is canceled after the caregiver is on the way to the assignment. BackupCare will provide more details about costs when you are contacted to finalize the care arrangement.

Child Care

You can have child care for children up to 17 years of age who reside in your household. Care can be provided for more than one child at a time. Typically, care is provided in your home but it can also be arranged at your business-travel location or in a childcare center that is vetted for backup care. 

Adult Care

Adult care is available for adults age 18 and older in your immediate or extended family, whether or not they live with you. Immediate or extended family includes your spouse/same-sex domestic partner as well as your or your spouse/partner’s parents, siblings, grandparents and adult children. Adult care services can be provided at the family member’s location, even if it’s in another city. Services include companion and/or personal care support such as meal preparation; light housekeeping; laundry; prompting for medication; and assistance with bathing, dressing, ambulation and other similar activities of daily living. Please keep in mind that these services are non-medical.

For detailed information on senior care, visit the Senior Care Planning webpage.

Arrange for Services

You have two options to request care. 

1. Online

If you are registered through BackupCare’s online system. If you haven’t already registered, please go to and select the type of care you need.

2. By Phone

Call 1-855-781-1303 during the call center hours listed below:
Monday-Thursday: 7am-8pm
Friday: 7am-5pm

Remember, the earlier you request care, the easier it is for BackupCare to set up the placement. Advance notice is not required for child care, but it helps to assure you’ll have the care when you need it. For adult care, please provide at least 24-hour notice since a home assessment may be needed to initiate the services.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact Human Resources
215-898-7729 or Contact Us Online