Campus & Community

Child-care programs, aid to continue at Harvard

2 min read

Harvard University will continue a number of programs designed to help meet specific child care needs at the University. In 2006, the Task Force on Women Faculty and the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering issued a final report that pointed to the need for increased University support for child care. Subsequently, several three-year pilot programs were introduced to target a range of child-care-related issues for different populations.

Doctoral students whose children are enrolled in campus child-care centers will continue to be eligible for limited scholarship support, based on demonstrated financial need. Though still small, the program aims to make campus child-care centers more accessible to students in the academic pipeline.

“It is critical that doctoral students throughout the University have access to high-quality child care,” explained Allan Brandt, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. “I am so pleased that we will be able to continue this important pilot program.”

The University will also continue a program that helps defray the cost of backup dependent care for income-eligible employees. Through the Just in Time Care Program, benefits-eligible faculty and staff earning under $70,000 per year are eligible for reimbursement of up to $350. Backup care is designed to cover breakdowns in regular child or elder care, which can be unpredictable. This program gives employees a subsidy for a type of care that can be hard to plan for, making more types of care accessible and supporting their ability to get to work.

Finally, in recognition of their role as vendors of critical services to the University, six campus child-care centers will continue to be paid an annual management fee. In addition to providing high-quality care, the six centers operating in campus space provide services tailored to the University community: management of preferential enrollment for faculty, staff, and students; a range of schedules tailored to the academic calendar; detailed reporting on application patterns; and much more.

These programs are in addition to other dependent care and work/life services the University offers, including child-care scholarship funds, assistance finding and securing child care through referral services, and on-site school vacation camps.

“We remain committed to ensuring that we continue to address the child-care challenges, which may hinder the recruitment [and] retention and/or impede the productivity of faculty, staff, and students at Harvard,” said Judith Singer, the senior vice provost for Faculty Development and Diversity.