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Backup and Drop-In Care

Backup care, also known as drop-in care, is short-term care you access when your regular childcare arrangements fall through. You can use backup care when, for example:

Backup care is not intended as a replacement for routine childcare arrangements.

Care@Work Backup Care

Northwestern offers a subsidized childcare backup care program through Care@Work, separate from the digital marketplace. This program allows faculty, staff, graduate students and postdocs to:

Call 855-781-1303 or login to the Care@Work portal through MyHR Benefits to access vetted, experienced employees and area centers for backup childcare.

We recommend registering for your Care@Work account before the need arises and requesting care as early as possible.

For more information about the Care@Work Backup Care Program, contact

Area Drop-In Care

In addition to the Care@Work Backup Care Program, Northwestern faculty, staff, students and postdocs may also access center-based backup/drop-in care at the following University partnership centers (the center’s standard rate will apply):

Bright Horizons@Evanston (1629 Orrington Avenue, Evanston)

How to Use Backup/Drop-In Care at Bright Horizons@Evanston:

McGaw YMCA Children's Center (1420 Maple Avenue, Evanston)

How to use Backup/Drop-In Care at McGaw YMCA Children’s Center:
  • Complete the Backup Care Registration Form and DCFS Enrollment Packet and return them to the center at 1420 Maple Ave in Evanston. For additional enrollment information, please visit the enrollment page.
  • Call the McGaw YMCA Children’s Center at (847) 475-8580 to determine if space is available as soon as you know you'll need backup care.

University Children's Center (446 Ontario, Chicago and & affiliated KinderCare Centers)

How to use Backup/Drop-In Care at University Children’s Center & affiliated KinderCare Centers:
  • Pre-register as soon as possible by contacting the center director for The University Children’s Center (UCC) at (312) 867-7056. She will help you register at UCC.
  • Complete the UCC Backup Care Enrollment Form and fax it to the center.
  • Make a reservation between 24 hours and 14 days in advance, if possible, by calling the center director for the designated center.

Sick childcare

If your child is ill and cannot attend their regular childcare provider, contact Kanella Maniatis at Illinois Action for Children for referral to special, in-home sick child care providers.