Penn Childcare Resources and Support
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:
- Log into Workday.
- Search for "Create Request" in the Workday search box. Select "Create Request."
- Select "All" from the Request Type Menu and navigate to "COVID-19 Childcare Grant Application."
- Click "OK."
- Answer all questions on the application, ensuring the necessary supporting documentation is attached.
- Sign the application by typing full legal name in Question 10.
- Click Submit.
- 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).
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.
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:
The Caring Center: 3010 Spring Garden St; 1-215-386-8245
The Parent-Infant Center: 4205 Spruce St; 1-215-222-5480
Bright Horizons at University City: 3600 Civic Center Boulevard; 1-267-298-4400
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, conduct a self-directed search using penn.care.com, or use a state COMPASS, Pennsylvania's search platform.
Childcare, Education Support (K-6), and Summer Camp
You can also use Care.com’s personal assisted search to help find a childcare center for pre-school-age children, a learning center to support school-age children who are learning remotely, or a summer camp. Call 855-781-1303.
Childcare centers such as KinderCare (10% discount for Penn families), and Bright Horizons, among others, opened learning centers for school-age children . The City of Philadelphia has 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. In addition to school year care, these organizations also provide summer camp options.
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, 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.
Caregiver Connections is a new online platform for Penn faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdocs who are also caregivers to build connections and find support in our local neighborhoods. You can find and build connections to Penn colleagues in your neighborhood who are also trying to address caregiving issues, including babysitting, tutoring, eldercare, and care for adults and children with special needs. Your PennKey and password is required.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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:
- Navigating the New School Year During COVID-19
- Working from Home with Children
- Balancing Work and Life as a Work from Home Parent
- Caring for Your Family