University Announces Childcare Initiative
Northwestern University will launch a major new initiative to improve childcare, based on recommendations made by a campus-wide childcare committee.
The initiative includes increased financial support for faculty, staff and students who have childcare needs, a new partnership with the McGaw YMCA Child Care Center in Evanston to guarantee spaces at that facility, and a collaboration with the Childcare Network of Evanston to develop lower-cost alternatives for childcare.
The steps that are being undertaken will significantly enhance the childcare support available to faculty, staff and students. While this initiative does not answer all the concerns regarding childcare that have been identified, it provides several new measures that will be helpful to families who need childcare.
The new steps are based on recommendations contained in the report of the Northwestern University Childcare Committee, which is now available online (532K).
Chaired by Katherine Faber, Professor and Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering department, the committee explored options to increase the availability and affordability of childcare for University members, and to provide advice on steps the University can take to address those issues. The committee did an excellent job of examining all the issues relating to childcare and giving them careful consideration. I appreciate the amount of time they dedicated to this effort and the thoughtfulness of their report.
Here are the highlights of the University's new childcare initiative:
- Designation of the McGaw YMCA Child Care Center in Evanston as the preferred childcare provider for the University, including:
- Guaranteed places for children of Northwestern families at the YMCA during 2002-2003.
- University departments that are in the process of recruiting faculty and staff will be able to reserve spaces in the YMCA's program.
- $50,000 in University funds for financial aid for 2002-2003 Northwestern families who use the YMCA's childcare center.
- $30,000 in funding for 2002-2003 for enhancements to the programs offered at the YMCA.
- Bus service, based on demand, between the Evanston campus and the YMCA during lunch hours on weekdays to allow parents to visit their children in the middle of the day.
- Expansion of the University's matching contributions to the dependent care Flexible Savings Account (FSA) offered to faculty and staff, including:
- Increased income limits
- Higher dollar match for employee savings
- Increased maximum amount of University contribution
- Addition of a new full-time of coordinator of child and family resources to assist faculty, staff and students in finding childcare.
- Collaboration with the Childcare Network of Evanston to develop a lower-cost childcare program for faculty, staff and students.
- Meeting the childcare needs of students, including:
- Access to the YMCA Child Care Center.
- Eligibility for financial aid provided by the University for childcare at the YMCA.
- Access to services provided by the Childcare Network of Evanston.
- Access to services provided by the University's Office of Child and Family Services.
- Evaluation of childcare options on the Chicago campus, including the possibility of on-site care in Abbott Hall or another building on the Chicago campus.
There are fewer childcare providers near the Chicago campus. We do not have the same opportunities for collaboration that we did in Evanston, so we are examining the possibility of using space in Abbott Hall or another building on the Chicago campus for a childcare center. We expect to have a solution in place by 2005, which is within the timetable proposed by the Childcare Committee.
Additional information and details about these new projects will be available in the Observer.
Lawrence B. Dumas
Childcare Committee Members
Medicine and Cell & Molecular Biology
Feinberg School of Medicine
Katherine Faber, Chair
Professor and Chair
Materials Science and Engineering
McCormick School of Engineering
Director of Finance and Administration
Office of the VP for Research
Office of the Controller
Office of the Provost