Backup & Drop-in Care

What is Backup & Drop-In Care?

Backup care, also known as drop-in care, is short-term care you access when your regular childcare arrangements fall through. Care sought during school inservice days, holidays, breaks, and caregiver illness all fall under the umbrella of backup care.

Finding and paying for backup care, especially on late notice, can be stressful. To support its faculty, staff, and students in navigating these situations, Northwestern created a Backup Care Reimbursement Programpdf icon, administered by the Office of Work/Life & Family Resources, to help offset some of this cost.

The Backup Care Reimbursement Program provides reimbursement of up to $25 per day, up to 6 days per year, per family (a total of $150 per academic year).

To request reimbursement:

  • Make sure you have a receipt or invoice from your backup care provider or center.
  • Submit your receipt, along with a completed form, to Magda Fong in the Office of Work/Life & Family Resources.

Please remember:

  • Backup care reimbursement is limited to 6 uses/$150 per family, per academic year
    (September 1-August 31).
  • Reimbursement does not roll over from year to year.
  • Employees who utilize the full benefit will be eligible to apply for reimbursement again as of September 1 the following fall.

Finding Backup Care

Please refer to the Finding Childcare page for resources to support your backup care provider search, or reach out to Northwestern's dedicated childcare resource and referral specialist at Action for Children at 773-356-8135.

Center-Based Backup Care at University Partnership Centers

Northwestern faculty, staff and students also have access to center-based backup or drop-in care at the following University partnership centers:

How to Use Bright Horizons@Evanston Backup/Drop-In Care at 1629 Orrington Avenue.

  1. View the welcome letter pdf icon from Center Directer, Gina Mosqueda and meet the leadership teampdf icon of Bright Horizons Evanston.
  2. Complete the Enrollment Forms and view the immunization chart pdf icon. Forms can be submitted to the center via email at evanston@brighthorizons.com.
  3. Call Bright Horizons at (847)491-9032 to determine if space is available as soon as you know you'll need drop-in care.
  4. Bring appropriate items pdf icon such as a change of clothing, diapers, and a comfort item like a blanket or favorite toy.
  5. When you arrive at the center, remit payment for the appropriate aged-based backup care fee and obtain a receipt for reimbursement.
  6. Submit the receipt for $25 per use up to $150 per household, per school year and the Request for Reimbursement Form pdf icon to The Northwestern University Office of Work/Life & Family Resources for reimbursement.

How to Use McGaw YMCA Children's Center Backup/Drop-In Care at 1420 Maple Avenue.

McGaw YMCA Children's Center offers dedicated drop-in care for Northwestern University faculty, staff, and students, in classrooms for three-year-olds through five-year-olds. Infant and toddler spaces are based upon availability.

  1. Complete the Backup Care Registration Form pdf icon 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.
  2. 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.
  3. When you arrive at the center, remit payment for the appropriate aged-based backup care fee and obtain a receipt for reimbursement.
  4. Submit the receipt for $25 per use up to $150 per household, per school year and the Request for Reimbursement Form pdf icon to The Northwestern University Office of Work/Life & Family Resources for reimbursement.

How to Use University Children's Center & affiliated Kindercare Centerspdf icon Backup/Drop-In Care at 446 Ontario.

  1. 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.
  2. Complete the UCC Backup Care Enrollment Form pdf icon and fax it to the center.
  3. Make a reservation between 24 hours and 14 days in advance, if possible, by calling the center director for the designated center.
  4. Bring appropriate items such as a change of clothing, diapers, and a comfort item like a blanket or favorite toy.
  5. Bring a $75 personal check, cashier's check or money order for each child.
  6. Sign in and walk your child back to the appropriate classroom. Let the teacher know of anything that might help them care for your child.
  7. Plan to spend an extra 10-15 minutes with your child at the center to help them settle in.
  8. Obtain a backup care receipt.  Submit the receipt for $25 per use up to $150 per household, per school year and the Request for Reimbursement Form pdf icon to The Northwestern University Office of Work/Life & Family Resources for reimbursement.

View Kindercare Center Network for Backup & Drop-In Care