If you have a question that is not answered here, please email the program coordinator at backupchildcare@berkeley.edu and, if it may be of interest to other student parents, we will update this page with the question and answer.

If you would like to share with other student parents a testimonial about this program’s benefit to you, please let us know by emailing backupchildcare@berkeley.edu.


General Questions

What is this program?

Is this a full-service child care program for students?

How is this program funded?

Who is the provider of these services?

Why is UC Berkeley providing this benefit to student parents?


Specific Questions

Can I use this service at night and on weekends?

Can I use this service when I am away from home, out of the area?

Why do I have to go through so many steps to enroll in this program?

I enrolled in this program last year.  Do I need to re-enroll this year?

What are the qualifications of caregivers in this program? How are they screened for suitability and quality?

How can I give feedback about my experience with the program?

I know someone who I would like to provide care for my child. Can s/he work for the Bright Horizons network?

Can I request a particular caregiver in the Bright Horizons network?

Can a caregiver drive my child to or from my home or a care center?

Can a caregiver give my child medications or act as a nurse?

Do I have to pay for a 4-hour minimum if I need care for only 1 or 2 or 3 hours?

Since the cost of in-home care covers up to three children at a time, can another student’s child join mine?

If both parents are registered UC Berkeley students, are both eligible for 60 hours?

If I am enrolled in a self-supporting graduate degree program (such as the LLM or MFE), am I eligible?

If I use all of my 60-hour allotment, can I continue to use the program?


General Questions

 

What is this program?

In fall 2013, Berkeley became the first public university in the U.S. to offer both graduate and undergraduate student parents access to back-up child care at highly subsidized rates — enabling students to focus on study sessions or writing papers, or to travel to attend conferences or give presentations when their usual caregiving arrangements are unavailable. These services are available both locally and, in most cases, nationwide through affiliated local caregivers.

Registered students with dependent children, from infants through age 18, are eligible for up to 60 hours (per fiscal year) of in-home and/or center-based care, with a low hourly co-pay: $4 per hour for in-home care (minimum of $16 per occasion, for up to three children) and $2 per hour for center-based care (minimum of $8 per occasion, per child).

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Is this a full-service child care program for students?

No; it is not intended to substitute for a parent’s usual ongoing arrangements with their child care providers.  It should be used when regular caregivers are not available. Examples:

– You have a new baby and need temporary care while you transition back to school.

– Your child’s school or center is closed for breaks, teacher in-service days, or bad weather.

– You are working on a school project or need extra study time, but your primary child care is unavailable.

– Your stay-at-home spouse/partner is called in for jury duty or has an appointment.

– You are in-between full-time child care arrangements.

– Your child is mildly ill and cannot attend their regular care program.

– Any time your regular child care provider or arrangement is temporarily unavailable.

– You are traveling to an academic conference or to do research out of the area, and your child is traveling with you and will need care at the distant location.

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How is this program funded?

In 2013, the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees (CACSSF), which includes undergraduate and graduate student representatives from the ASUC and the Graduate Assembly, recommended funding this pilot program with an allocation from student fee monies that are set aside for student services.  Additional support is from a generous grant from the Hutto Patterson Charitable Foundation, thanks to alumna Catherine Hutto Gordon.

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Who is the provider of these child care services?

UC Berkeley has contracted with Bright Horizons, a leading nationwide provider of these and similar services, to tailor its Back-Up Care Advantage Program for our student parents. The program includes access to a nationwide network of high quality, licensed child care centers, including hundreds of accredited Bright Horizons child care centers across the country. In addition, the extensive network encompasses thousands of in-home care agencies that have been identified and invited to join the network to support the needs of students across geographies. More information about Bright Horizons is available at http://www.brighthorizons.com/about-us

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Why is UC Berkeley providing this benefit to student parents?

Our campus has long been on the cutting edge of designing and promoting family-responsive policies and programs for faculty, staff, and students.  Research conducted by our professors shows that support for students and faculty who are parents is essential both for women’s full participation in academia and the workforce and for men’s ability to fully participate in parenting. UC Berkeley’s many family-responsive innovations have been adopted or adapted by universities and government agencies throughout the U.S. and beyond. For more information, see http://ucfamilyedge.berkeley.edu/

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Specific Questions

 

Can I use this service at night and on weekends?

Yes; any time you need to study, do research, meet with faculty or other students, or attend to other academic obligations.

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Can I use this service when I am away from home, out of the area?

Probably. If your child is staying home and another responsible adult is designated by you to act in your absence, you may request in-home care. If your child is traveling with you (so you can meet an academic obligation, such as attending a conference or doing research off-campus), there may be affiliated care providers in that area; contact Bright Horizons to ask.

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Why are there so many steps to enroll in this program?

There are only two steps, one required by the campus and one required by the service provider.  First, you must be verified as a registered UC Berkeley student; you do this by completing our campus’s online enrollment application that is received and reviewed by our campus program coordinator.  Second, you must complete your enrollment directly with Bright Horizons, which has its own requirements for information about you and your child/children that they need in order to serve you. You do that on their own password-protected website.  That’s it!

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I enrolled in this program last year.  Do I need to re-enroll this year?

No.  The campus program coordinator will check to verify that you are continuing as a registered UC Berkeley student.  (If you are not registered by the semester’s deadline, you will be blocked from use of this program.)  The enrollment information you gave Bright Horizons last year will not be affected (although you should be sure that information about yourself and your child/children is up to date).

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What are the qualifications of caregivers in this program? How are they screened for suitability and quality?

Bright Horizons is the nation’s largest back-up care network with:
– Thousands of in-home back-up child care providers nationwide
– Carefully and thoroughly screened providers, exclusive to its network
– High capacity that ensures coverage for all ages
– Highly skilled teachers who are adept at working with children in new surroundings
– Classrooms and its own back-up child care curriculum for school-aged children
– Ability to provide care for children with special needs
– Affiliated centers are committed to the high standards of accreditation by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).

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How can I give feedback about my experience with the program?

Bright Horizons sends you a questionnaire after each instance of child care so that you can rate your experience, give specific feedback, and ask questions.

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I know someone who I would like to provide care for my child. Can s/he work for the Bright Horizons network?

That person should contact Bright Horizons directly to learn of their requirements for qualifications and procedures for becoming affiliated.

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Can I request a particular caregiver in the Bright Horizons network?

Yes, although Bright Horizons cannot guarantee that person will be available at your requested time.

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Can a caregiver drive my child to or from my home or a care center?

No; that is not an authorized service due to liability limitations.

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Can a caregiver give my child medications or act as a nurse?

No; that is not an authorized service due to liability limitations.

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Do I have to pay for a 4-hour minimum if I need care for only 1 or 2 or 3 hours?

Unfortunately, yes.

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Since the cost of in-home care covers up to three children at a time, can another student’s child join mine?

No; all children must be registered with the same student parent.

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If both parents are registered UC Berkeley students, are both eligible for 60 hours?

Yes, because the intent of the program is to support as many student parents as possible in meeting their academic obligations and making progress toward completion of their degree goal.

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If I am enrolled in a self-supporting graduate degree program (such as the LLM or MFE), am I eligible?

Unfortunately, no, because the child care program is funded by an allocation from student fees that you do not pay in your degree program.

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If I use all of my 60-hour allotment, can I continue to use the program?

Yes, but you will be responsible for payment of the full (unsubsidized) costs of in-home care ($35 per hour, with a 4 hour minimum) or center-based care ($20 per hour, with a 4 hour minimum).

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