When Adrienne Allotta recently needed emergency child care for her toddler son, Jackson, she turned to a new program available to Case Western Reserve University faculty, staff and students.
She found help through the Temporary and Back-up Child Care program, which launched last fall. The program places caregivers with families on a full-time or temporary basis.
Allotta, associate director for career development at the Weatherhead School of Management, used the service for two weeks while her regular child care provider recuperated from an illness. "I don't have family in town, so for my situation it was a perfect solution," she explained.
The Temporary and Back-up Child Care program—along with the Child Care Support During Travel program—are two pilot projects that emerged from the work of the President's Committee on Child Care Options during 2008-2009. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff are able to participate in the initiatives.
The Department of Human Resources is responsible for administering the two pilot programs. According to James Ryan, chair of the child care options committee and senior director of benefits, about a dozen people have used the programs so far.
For the Temporary and Back-up Child Care program, the university established a relationship with Erin's Nannies, a highly regarded service. Founder Erin Taub said several faculty and staff had already been using her service, and one of them suggested to the child care committee that her agency would probably be a great fit.
As part of the university's relationship with Erin's Nannies, the $175 sign up fee and for the first two times a nanny is provided, the agency's usage fees are waived. The faculty or staff member is responsible for paying the nanny directly.
Jacqueline Lipton, professor of law, was already familiar with Erin's Nannies. She began using the service in 2005. "It was through word of mouth from other people at the university. I talked with Erin and she seemed knowledgeable and flexible." Lipton started out using the service on a part-time basis and ended up finding her full-time child care provider through the agency.
She said the university's decision to provide child care options for campus members is a good one. "I think it's very useful. If an academic has to go away to a conference and their spouse is also away, the service is a good way to get reliable people to fill in for you. Many professors don't have their children's grandparents or other family in the same city."
When Allotta realized she was going to need temporary care for her son, she remembered reading about the new initiatives and immediately contacted the agency. "Erin contacted me that night. She gave me option to text, e-mail or call her. She found a nice person who lived in my area." Allotta said she had an opportunity to talk with the nanny ahead of time, which "put me at ease."
Erin's Nannies services all of Northeast Ohio. Campus members interested in the program are encouraged to sign up in advance so that their information is in the system in case an emergency arises. Most of the nannies prefer to work a minimum of four hours.
Campus members should contact the Department of Human Resources with specific questions about the two pilot programs. Erin's Nannies can be reached by phone at (216) 381-6600 or by e-mail at Erinsnannies@aol.com.
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