Backup Care and Enhanced Family Supports

Backup Care

The University provides access to Backup Childcare Benefits and access to family support resources for eligible full time students enrolled in on-campus programs. To access the benefits, students must first join the Family Center

Program Details

Backup Care is provided in your home or in an approved childcare center when there is a disruption in regular care arrangements that would normally prevent you from completing academic work or training. Eligible students have access to a network of high-quality child care centers and in-home care providers, which provide temporary care provided by Bright Horizons. The benefits include access of up to 7 subsidized days of back-up care annually from July 1- June 30. Complete your profile and make reservations 60 days in advance or the same day you need care.


  • In-home care copay is $5 per hour. One in-home caregiver can care for up to three care recipients. A day of in-home care is a minimum of 4 hours up to a maximum of 10 hours of care.
  • Center-based care copay is $15 per child/day or $25 per family/day. 

The Backup Care program is subsidized by the university, students are responsible for the cost of the copay.

Register for Backup Care Today!

Prior to scheduling care for the first time, you will need to register with Bright Horizons.  We recommend registering even if you are not certain that you will need to use the Back-Up Care Program.  Advance registration saves time if and when you do need care. All Backup Care caregivers and child care centers are fully vetted and background checked so that you can feel comfortable using them on short notice. 

Website: Visit

Phone: Care consultants are available 24/7 to assist with any questions at 877-BH-CARES (242-2737).

App: When registering for the first time on the back-up care mobile app enter your university credentials:

Username: PennFamilyCenter | Password: Benefits4You



You can take advantage of the Back-Up Care Program, if you are a full-time and residential:

  • Undergraduate Student
  • Graduate and Professional Student

Students must first join the Family Center before registering for Backup care and Enhanced Family Supports. When registering for Backup care, you must use the email address associated with your Family Center membership.

*Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs must enroll in the Penn’s Faculty/Staff Backup Care Program and direct any questions about benefits to the Division of Human Resources at (215) 898-7372, or via email at

When to use Back up Child Care

  • Your regular sitter is taking a few days of vacation or is ill and you can’t miss work this week.  You can use in-home or center-based care for those days.
  • You typically get your children up and to school in the morning but you have to go out of town for a conference and your partner or spouse must leave early for work.  Back-up care can arrange for someone to come to your home to get your children ready for the day and take them to school.  
  • You have a child whose care is split between day care and home care. But the day care center is closed for the day, and the home care attendant cannot come in for the full day. Back-up care can send you a qualified home care attendant to fill in.
  • Your spouse or partner is in the hospital; and you need help taking care of the children. Back-up care can arrange for an in-home sitter or care at a child care center until he or she is able to help again.
  • If you have a child with special needs and are unable to find a caregiver using the Backup care service, you can use a known caregiver for backup care and be reimbursed up to $100 per day towards the cost of care. This is called Out-of-Network Care and counts as using one of your 7 available Back-Up Care days per year.


Backup Care FAQ

Bright Horizons Portal

Enhanced Family Supports

Self-Source Discounts for Long Term Family Care Solutions

Use the Bright Horizons Portal or call 877-BH-CARES to help find a childcare center, a learning center to support school-age children, or a summer camp.  Special discounts are available through our Bright Horizons partnership:

  • Preferred enrollment and waived registration fees at select Bright Horizons child care centers for full-time care
  • Tuition discounts are available at partner centers including Kindercare centers (10%). 
  • Sittercity Membership, search for and hire caregivers, pet care, housekeepers and more for long term care needs
  • Discounted personalized nanny placement through Jovie
  • Discounted tutoring and test prep services through Varsity Tutors and Revolution Prep.
  • Discounted summer camp options: Bright Horizons is offering discounts at several quality summer camps where children can learn about nature, science, cooking, music and more. Programs include Steve & Kate’s Camp, Code Ninjas, MarcoPolo, and more

To access these discounts, make reservations through the Bright Horizon's Portal or download the Bright Horizons App. When registering for the first time on the back-up care mobile app, enter these University credentials: Username: Penn. Password: Benefits4You. If you have already registered on the website, you sign in to the app with your personal login. 

Students must first join the Family Center before registering for Backup care and Enhanced Family Supports. When registering with Bright Horizons, you must use the email address associated with your Family Center membership. 

These programs are all self-sourced by students and services are fully paid by the students.

Access All Your Bright Horizons Benefits Today!

Enhanced Family Supports FAQ

Bright Horizons Portal

Please note that Penn does not endorse these centers, caregivers, or resources, nor does the University screen any services or caregivers that may be available through these resources. You and your family should screen any child-care centers, caregivers, and facilities for your children thoroughly. These services are being included for reference in this communication as a convenience, for the consideration of our staff and faculty. You should take time to screen and determine whether any resource is appropriate for you and your family, and to ensure your child’s development and safety.