Penn Childcare Resources and Support

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Caregiving can be a challenge during the best of times. Meeting your childcare needs during a global pandemic can be even more stressful. For your information and convenience, we have listed several resources and tips for finding and providing care.

We recognize that this is an evolving situation with no easy solutions. The options below may help you meet your needs.

 

Special COVID-19 Childcare Grant

The Penn COVID-19 Childcare Grant helps Penn faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees who incur childcare expenses for care in their homes or in a childcare center, during the academic year from September 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021. If you meet the criteria described below, you are eligible to apply and receive up to $2,000 (before taxes) per household as reimbursement for childcare expenses.  The grant application is available in Workday from September 15, 2020 through May 31, 2021.  To apply, follow these steps:

  1. Log into Workday.
  2. Search for "Create Request" in the Workday search box.  Select "Create Request."
  3. Select "All" from the Request Type Menu and navigate to "COVID-19 Childcare Grant Application."
  4. Click "OK."
  5. Answer all questions on the application, ensuring the necessary supporting documentation is attached.
  6. Sign the application by typing full legal name in Question 10.
  7. Click Submit.

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Be an active, full-time, Penn benefits-eligible employee or postdoctoral trainee. Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees who are on leave or sabbatical are not eligible. Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees must be completing their normal work requirements remotely or on campus.
  • Have at least one child aged 10 or younger and/or 11-18 years of age with a disability-related special need at the time of the first application.
  • The grant amount is per household, not per child. If both parents are employed at the University of Pennsylvania, the Childcare Grant benefit is limited to the benefit that would be provided to one faculty or staff member.
  • Have a yearly Penn salary of $100,000 or less (from all Penn sources).

Childcare Resources

Caregivers, Tutors, and Babysitters

Penn’s partnership with Care.com helps Penn faculty and staff search for and hire caregivers using this website: https://penn.care.com/. The Care.com team can also help you find and hire caregivers through a personal assisted search. Call 855-781-1303 or log on at penn.care.com. The costs of finding care and a background check are covered by your Penn benefit; the hourly costs for care are covered by you.

If you are concerned about bringing a new caregiver into your home, Care.com has compiled a set of Guidelines for In-home Backup Care for families and 4 Questions to Ask Child Caregivers During Coronavirus.

Childcare and Education Support (K-6)

You can also use Care.com’s personal assisted search to help find a childcare center for pre-school-age children or a learning center to support school-age children who are learning remotely. Call 855-781-1303.  

Childcare centers such as KinderCare (10% discount for Penn families), and Bright Horizons, among others, are opening learning centers for school-age children this fall. The City of Philadelphia has announced Access Centers to provide supervised and connected spaces serving grades K-6. The YMCA will be open 7am-6pm to support virtual and hybrid learning in many of their locations.

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. 

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 through Care.com. Care can be offered in your home or in a childcare center, with some of the cost covered. To register, call 855-781-1303 or go online to the easy-to-use registration system at penn.care.com.

Connect With Parents and Resources in Your Community

Parents and co-op caregiving groups are connecting to work together to support childcare needs. 

Parents@Penn Facebook Group is a community group for Penn staff, students, postdocs, faculty, alumni, and partners.

Komae is a cooperative childcare app, helping you to coordinate free, flexible childcare within a trusted network of other parents. 

Pupil Pod is a Philadelphia-area program that connects you with online or in-person education for small groups of children. 

Please note that Penn does not endorse Komae or Pupil Pod, 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 Komae and Pupil Pod and their services are subject to Komae and the Pupil Pod’s Terms of Use. 

Additional Resources

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

You can use your Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for eligible child care expenses that allow you to work. 

To help Penn faculty and staff in the current pandemic, you can now change your Dependent Care FSA election (enroll, increase, or decrease) via Workday, without declaring a specific life event, for the current plan year (2020-2021) until December 31, 2020.  Go to Workday, Benefits, Change Benefits and click the Benefit Event Type 2020 - Special Election; visit the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account webpage, or call the Benefit Solution Center at 866-799-2329.

Penn Employee Assistance Program 

Penn’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers support and coaching on time management, strategies for managing stress, and many other professional life issues. EAP services are available by phone, email, webchat, video, or in-person. Call 866-799-2329, email eapinfo@healthadvocate.com, or visit https://www.hr.upenn.edu/eap.

Work-Life Balance Resources

We are offering extensive resources to help faculty and staff navigate the challenges of the pandemic, including: 

Penn GSE Educator's Playbook Guides