Kindercare Backup Care FAQs

  1. How do I sign up?
    A registration form is available online at or at the University Children’s Center. Fill out the form and fax it back to the University Children’s Center director at (312) 867-7058 and she will help you arrange backup care at the KinderCare most convenient for you.
  2. When can I start using backup care?
    You must first register to use the program. Do not wait. The process may take several days to properly process the forms. Registration is free, and the sooner you register the sooner you can begin to use the program.
  3. Will there by room for me at the last minute?
    While we request at least 24 hours notice, you may reserve your place up to 14 days in advance. However, if a last minute need arises, don’t panic – space may still be available.
  4. How often can I use the program?
    You can use the program up to 20 days per year, with a maximum of five consecutive days for each stay.
  5. What age ranges does KinderCare accept?
    KinderCare accepts children 6 weeks through 12 years of age. Please contact the center nearest you for classroom availability.
  6. Can I visit the center?
    Absolutely. We encourage you to visit the center before your child’s first day. That way, you and your child will have a chance to get comfortable with the staff and the surroundings. Call to schedule an appointment and we will be happy to give you a tour of any one of the designated KinderCare centers.
  7. What can I do to ease the transition for my child?
    At KinderCare, we recognize that a change in the usual routine brings about unusual stresses to both the parent and the child involved. We pay particular attention to ensuring that all children in our centers feel cared for and comfortable in their surroundings. Parents can help by bringing along any comfort items, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal and taking extra time at drop off to help your child adjust to the classroom.
  8. When can I use it?
    Use backup childcare anytime your regular childcare arrangements are disrupted – up to 20 days per year per employee. It’s meant to supplement, not replace, your primary childcare. This program is not for use when your child is ill, but rather:
    • When your regular provider is ill or on vacation.
    • When you need to be at work on a school holiday.
    • When you are relocating and haven’t found permanent care.
    • When you are transitioning back to work from a leave of absence.
  9. How does it work?
    As a Northwestern University employee, you can use the backup care program for $75 per day for each child. Pre-register as soon as possible by contacting the Center Director at University Children’s Center at (312) 867-7056. She will help you register at the KinderCare center most convenient for you and your family. As soon as you know there’s a problem with your primary childcare – up to two weeks ahead – call University Children’s Center to reserve your space. You never know when you’ll need backup care, but the sooner you call, the more likely we’ll have room for your child. When you arrive at KinderCare, you’ll pay a $75 co-payment. In the event that you need to cancel your backup childcare plans, notify your center immediately – otherwise, the day will be counted as one of your 20 allotted days.