Backup Child Care

Your Backup Child Care benefit can help you find the right care, right when you need it.

Backup Child Care providers can assist when your routine child care arrangements are disrupted and:

  • You need to work late or on weekends
  • You have a gap in your routine child care arrangements (such as a holiday)
  • Your routine care provider is ill
  • Your children are mildly ill
  • Your are traveling for MIT and your children accompany you
  • You need to attend class, study, or participate in an event related to being a student at MIT
Plan Ahead for Summer Child Care

Already signed up for summer camp? Please note that camps typically end a few weeks before school begins, and it’s important to plan ahead! You will need to make other arrangements for child care – or plan to take vacation days – to fill the gap in care.

There is a very high demand for Care.com backup child care providers (both in-person and in-center) in August, and they may not be able to fill your request for care. If you need assistance finding child care or summer program options for this time frame, please reach out to MIT MyLife Services (for benefits-eligible staff, faculty, and postdocs) or MIT GAIN (for MIT graduate students). Their experts can conduct a customized search based on your preferred schedule, location, budget, and other criteria you may have.

Eligibility

Benefits-eligible MIT staff, faculty, and postdocs (associates and fellows), can use up to 15 days of Backup Care (combined Child and Adult/Senior Care) per fiscal year. Learn more about the Child Backup Care benefit for MIT Employees.

Eligible MIT graduate students can use up to 15 days of Backup Child Care per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), or date of graduation, whichever comes first. Learn more about the Child Backup Care benefit for MIT graduate students.

Backup care days are non-transferable, and can only be used to book care for your own eligible dependents. Your account dashboard will show the number of days used and remaining, but you are responsible for ensuring that you do not exceed your benefit.

Enrollment in the backup care benefit is subject to a benefits verification process, and it may take up to two weeks after your start date for your eligibility to be verified in the system. The benefit is not accessible prior to the completion of this verification process, therefore, enrollment is not guaranteed during the first two weeks of your employment or graduate program. If you receive the message, “eligibility check failed,” while enrolling at mit.care.com (for employees) or mitstudents.care.com (for graduate students), your benefits-eligibility has not yet been verified in the system.

If you are unable to enroll in the backup care benefit two weeks after your start date, please reach out to worklife@mit.edu to troubleshoot. 

In the meantime, if you need assistance locating temporary or ongoing child care options, you may contact MIT MyLife Services (for benefits-eligible staff, faculty, and postdocs) or MIT GAIN (for MIT graduate students).

Backup Care Options

Requests for Backup Child Care must be work-related, but care is available 24/7, anywhere in the U.S. You and your family have the following options for Backup Child Care:

  • In-Home Backup Child Care: Care.com's screened and trained caregivers are available to provide care 24-hours per day, seven days per week.
  • In-Center Backup Child Care*: Care.com's licensed centers, near home or work, provide care during business hours for children from ages 6-weeks to 12 years. 

*Care.com’s in-center backup child care program operates through a network of privately-run centers, which each individually provide Care.com with updates regarding their availability to take backup care requests. Due to the nature of staffing and licensing requirements in childcare centers, these in-center backup care providers may not be able to confirm their capacity to accommodate a backup care request until the final days before a reservation.

After you place your request, Care.com will provide you with a timeframe for updates, including their final update on your caregiver search. If you have a deadline by which you must know that a caregiver has been secured for your requested date(s), please let Care.com know by calling 866-228-2965 x 1.

If Care.com is unable to fill your Backup Child Care request, you may source a caregiver from your personal network (you are responsible for hiring, vetting, and negotiating rates) and receive reimbursement for part of the cost. Personal Network Backup Child Care is available only in the event that Care.com is unable to fill your request for In-Home or In-Center Backup Child Care.

Costs of care

Faculty, staff, and postdocs
  • In-Home Backup Child Care: $8.00 per hour (with a minimum of 4 hours per day and maximum of 10 hours per day).
  • In-Center Backup Child Care: $15.00 per child, per day (no minimum or maximum number of hours per day).
Graduate students

The Graduate Student Backup Care program is sponsored by the Office of Graduate Education and administered by the MIT HR Center for WorkLife and WellBeing.

  • In-Home Backup Child Care: $5.00 per hour (with a minimum of 4 hours per day and maximum of 10 hours per day).
  • In-Center Backup Child Care: $10.00 per-child, per-day (no minimum or maximum number of hours per day). 

If Care.com is unable to fill your Backup Child Care request, you may source a caregiver from your personal network (you are responsible for hiring, vetting, and negotiating rates) and receive reimbursement for part of the cost. Personal Network Backup Child Care is available only in the event that Care.com is unable to fill your request for In-Home or In-Center Backup Child Care.

Registering for care

Faculty, staff, and postdocs: Visit mit.care.com and complete the enrollment form

Graduate students: Visit mitstudents.care.com and complete the enrollment form

Requesting care

NOTE: You must register with Care.com prior to requesting care
To request care online:
  • Login to your account at mit.care.com (employees) or mitstudents.care.com (graduate students)
  • Select "I want to find care for my kids"
  • Select "I need backup care"
  • Click "Book online"
  • Submit your information and request
To request care by telephone:

Call 866-228-2965 during the hours below

  • Monday – Thursday: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST
  • Friday: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST
  • Sunday: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST

After you place your request, Care.com will provide you with a timeframe for updates, including their final update on your caregiver search. If you have a deadline by which you must know that a caregiver has been secured for your requested date(s), please let Care.com know by calling 866-228-2965 x 1.

Important information regarding Care.com

Care.com, the business to business arm of Care.com, is a valued MIT vendor and has provided support and services that are important to MIT families juggling multiple responsibilities. These services include Backup Child and Adult/Senior Care. For In-Home Backup Care, Care.com uses screened and trained care providers. Care.com Backup Child Care Centers are licensed and undergo rigorous and regular review. MIT does not provide support for the Care.com self-directed website search feature. If you do use the Care.com online self-directed search using your personal contact information, please be sure to refer to their Safety Center. tab to make sure you are informed about how to screen applicants and do reference and background checks on individual providers.

You can also call MyLife Services, a free, confidential MIT benefit for faculty, staff, postdocs and their families - 844-405-5433 - to get help finding licensed childcare providers and agencies. Graduate families can call MIT Graduate Assistance and Information Network - MIT GAIN – 844-648-4246 - to get help finding licensed childcare providers and agencies.

Please email the MIT HR Center for WorkLife and WellBeing if you have further questions or concerns at worklife@mit.edu or call us at 617-253-1592.

Backup Child Care FAQs

Benefit information FAQs

Question: Is there a limit to how many times I can use my Backup Child Care benefit?

Answer: Benefits-eligible faculty, staff, and postdocs (including postdoc associates and postdoc fellows), may use up-to 15 days of Backup Care (combined Child and Adult/Senior Care) per fiscal year. Eligible graduate students may use up-to 15 days of Backup Child Care per fiscal year, or date of graduation, whichever comes first. Each Backup Care occurrence counts as a "day" of care, taken from your annual balance. Unused days do not carry forward into the new fiscal year.

To view your Backup Care balance:

  • Login to your account at mit.care.com (employees) or mitstudents.care.com (graduate students)
  • Select “I want to find care for my kids”
  • Select “I need backup care”
  • Select “Book online”
  • You will be redirected to your dashboard, which shows your total number of days allocated, days used, and days remaining

Question: What type of care does the personal network backup child care benefit cover?

Answer: This benefit is intended to be used for backup child care purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for routine child care arrangements. Families have the following options when requesting Backup Child Care:

  • In-Home Backup Child Care: Care.com's screened and trained caregivers are available to provide care 24-hours per day, seven days per week
  • In-Center Backup Child Care: Care.com's licensed centers, near home or work, provide care during business hours for children from ages 6-weeks to 12-years.

If Care.com is unable to fill your Backup Child Care request, you may source a caregiver from your personal network (you are responsible for hiring, vetting, and negotiating rates) and receive reimbursement for part of the cost (see Personal Network FAQs below for details).

Question: How do I know I'll be receiving quality care?

Answer: Care.com screens In-Home Backup Child Care providers for child care experience; checks child care references by phone; verifies Social Security numbers; conducts criminal background checks; and interviews each candidate. All candidates are required to complete health and safety training. In-Center Backup Child Care providers are trained in child development, early childhood education, or a related field.

 

Registration FAQs

Question: I'm getting an error message when I try to register or access my account at mit.care.com (employees) or mitstudents.care.com (graduate students). What should I do?

Answer: Care.com has a dedicated help desk to assist with enrollment errors, portal navigation errors, and password issues. Please email cfbhelp@care.com to troubleshoot. If possible, please include screenshots of the error message you are receiving. The Care.com help desk is available Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST.

If you receive the message, “eligibility check failed,” your benefits-eligibility has not yet been verified in the system. Enrollment in the backup care benefit is subject to a benefits verification process, and it may take up to two weeks after your start date for your eligibility to be verified in the system. The benefit is not accessible prior to the completion of this verification process, therefore, enrollment is not guaranteed during the first two weeks of your employment or graduate program.

If you are experiencing an issue that is unrelated to enrollment, portal navigation, or your password, please contact Care.com's backup care team at 866-228-2965 (x1) or reach out to MIT HR Work-Life at worklife@mit.edu for assistance.

Question: When should I register for my Care.com account?

Answer: We recommend that you register for your Care.com account as soon as possible, so as to expedite the request process and avoid any issues when care is needed. We also recommend that you request care as early in advance as possible.

Question: When should I request in-home backup child care?

Answer: We recommend that you request in-home backup child care as early in advance as possible.  More advanced notice increases the chances of a successful match.

Question: When should I request in-center backup child care?

Answer: Care.com’s in-center backup child care program operates through a network of privately-run centers, which each individually provide Care.com with updates regarding their availability to take backup care requests. While you are able to request in-center backup care in advance, providers may not be able to confirm their capacity to accommodate a backup care request until the final days before a reservation, due to the nature of staffing and licensing requirements in childcare centers. In-network centers respond to Care.com's pending requests during the centers' normal hours of operation.

Question: What is the cancellation policy? 

Answer: Your credit card will be charged a $30 cancellation fee if a Backup Care request is cancelled within 72 hours of the reservation start time, and a provider has already been reserved to fulfill your request. Additionally, if the cancellation occurs within 24 hours of the reservation start time, one day will also be deducted from your Backup Care balance.

Personal network FAQs

Question: Care.com was unable to fill my request for Backup Child Care. What other options do I have?

Answer: If Care.com is unable to fill your Backup Child Care request, you may source a caregiver from your personal network (you are responsible for hiring, vetting, and negotiating rates) and receive reimbursement for up to $100 per day. Contact Care.com Backup Care at 866-228-2965 for more information.

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