Backup Child Care for Students

Backup Child Care for Students

MIT is pleased to offer a program of subsidized backup childcare for MIT graduate students as part of our support for student families. This program is sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education and administered by the MIT Work-Life Center.

About Backup Child Care: In Your Home or In a Licensed Child Care Center

Now you can access backup child care, provided by Care.com, in your home or at a licensed child care center, near your home or work. Backup child care can assist when normal child care or school arrangements are disrupted by school closings, vacations, provider illness, or when a child is mildly ill. Families have different needs. There are now two backup child care options that provide increased scheduling and cost flexibility. You and your family have the following two backup child care options:

  • Child Care Providers Can Come To Your Home, workplace or other meeting place seven days a week, 24/7, through Care.com; 
  • You Can Select a Licensed Child Care Center, near home or work, through Care.com. These child care centers accept children from ages 6 weeks to 12 years and are available Monday through Friday, during daytime hours. 

MIT graduate students can request up to 10 child care referrals per academic year (July 1 – June 30) without being charged registration or placement fees. Once you have registered, in-home care is available any time of day or night, any day of the week and in-center care is available Monday through Friday, during daytime hours. Unused days of care will not carry forward into the new academic year. Students will begin each academic year with a balance of 10 days of backup child care.

Costs of Care

In-Home Child Care: You are responsible for paying the hourly cost of the child caregiver, which is currently$5.00 per hour in Massachusetts (with a minimum of four hours per day and maximum of eight hours per day).

In-Center Child Care: You are responsible for paying the daily cost of the child care center, which is $10.00 per child, per day, in Massachusetts (there is no minimum or maximum number of hours for the day).

How to Register for Backup Child Care

Step 1: Visit mitstudents.care.com and complete the enrollment form. All students will need to re-enroll on Care.com's new customized student portal if you previously enrolled prior to 9/16/16.

Step 2: Request backup child care online or by telephone.

To request backup child care online:

  • Select "I want to find care for my kids"
  • Select "I need backup care"
  • Click "book online" for either In-Center Child Care or In-Home Child Care and submit your information and request.

To request backup child care by telephone: 

Call 855-781-1303, extension 2. Care.com call-in hours are:

  • Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST
  • Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST
  • Sunday, 5 p.m – 8 p.m. EST (for care needed the following day).

In-Home Backup Child Care Request

If you call Care.com to request in-home backup child care:

  • Register by completing the enrollment form at mitstudents.care.com.
  • Identify yourself as an MIT graduate student.
  • Care.com will: Identify a caregiver who meets your specific needs, call to tell you about your caregiver, and will email you the caregiver profile. The caregiver will also call you to confirm the details of the child care appointment.
  • At the end of the backup child care service, you will need to sign the provided timesheet, and your credit card will be charged for the hours of care provided.

In-Center Backup Child Care Request

If you call Care.com to request backup child care in a conveniently located licensed child care center:

  • Register by completing the enrollment form at mitstudents.care.com.
  • Identify yourself as an MIT graduate student.
  • Care.com will: Assist you to self-search for a child care center near work or home that meets your specific needs. The Care.com specialist will confirm your reservation in an email that includes details about the child care center.

Example Backup Child Care Scenarios

Backup Child Care Scenario 1:

  • Anna is going on a job interview in a couple days, and requires child care for her two children.
  • She has not yet enrolled with Care.com.

Action Steps:

  • Anna visits mitstudents.care.com and completes the Care.com enrollment form.
  • Anna calls Care.com (1-855-781-1303, extension 2) to request 4 hours of care on the day of her interview (minimum number of hours for care is 4).
  • Care.com calls Anna back and informs her about her caregiver.
  • The caregiver calls Anna to confirm the details of the child care appointment.
  • At the time agreed on, the child care provider arrives at Anna’s house and provides child care for her 2 children for 4 hours.
  • At the end of the child care service, Anna signs the provided timesheet, and her credit card is charged for her co-pay for the hours of care. The cost to Anna is $5.00 per hour x 4 hours of care = $20.00.
  • Anna now has 9 days of backup child care remaining before June 30 of this academic year.

Backup Child Care Scenario 2:

  • Eric is going to a conference in Atlanta for 2 days, and is bringing his child with him.
  • Eric needs 8 hours of child care on the first day, and 4 hours of child care on the second day of the conference.
  • Eric has already used 9 days of child care this fiscal year (since July 1)
  • Eric has already re-enrolled on Care.com's new student portal (launched on September 1, 2016).

Action Steps:

  • Eric calls Care.com to arrange for two days of child care in Atlanta, at the hotel he is staying at for the conference.
  • One day of in-center child care at the conference is subsidized through MIT’s student backup child care program ($10.00 per day). This first day of child care at the conference uses up his 10th day of subsidized backup child care for the fiscal year. Therefore, the second day of conference child care is unsubsidized. (Note: Care.com tracks your subsidized backup child care utilization and will alert you when you are close to using up your allotted 10 subsidized backup child care days.)
  • The total cost to Eric is $124.00 for the two days of backup child care: 
    • Day 1 (subsidized): $10.00 per day (8 hours at the child care center) = $10.00.
    • Day 2 (unsubsidized): $18.50 per hour x 4 hours of care = $74.00 for the caregiver, plus the daily agency fee of $50.00, for a total of $134.00.

Backup Childcare Scenario 3:

  • Jennifer’s nanny is sick and notifies Jennifer at 7:30 a.m. that due to illness, she cannot provide her regular child care to Jennifer’s son.
  • Jennifer still needs to go to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and needs backup child care for her 2 children.
  • Jennifer has already used 1 day of subsidized child care this fiscal year, and has 9 days of subsidized child care left.

Action Steps:

  • Jennifer calls Care.com at 7:30 a.m.to arrange for a day of backup child care.
  • She is reminded that they generally require at least 24 hours of notice in order to provide child care during the requested time, and the earliest they can send a child care provider is 11 a.m.
  • Jennifer requests child care from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day.
  • Jennifer calls her neighbor, Sarah, and asks her to watch her children until the Care.com backup child care provider arrives.
  • Sarah watches the children until the child care provider arrives at Jennifer's house at 11 a.m.
  • At the end of the child care service, Jennifer signs the provided timesheet, and her credit card is charged for her co-pay for the hours of care. The cost to Jennifer is $5.00 per hour x 7 hours of care = $35.00.

Learn more

Additional information about the backup child care referral service: