With distance learning across many school districts continuing, I recognize that this school year is unlike any other. I also recognize the challenges that you are experiencing in managing work demands, while serving as teacher, caregiver and parent. I want to share several enhancements to our dependent care programs and services intended to assist families during this unique time.
Child Care Financial Assistance Programs
With the recognition that financial circumstances of many families in our community may be changing as a result of the pandemic, the WorkLife Office examined our child care assistance programs to identify potential opportunities to increase the pool of eligible families in 2020-2021.
Child Care Subsidy Grant (CCSG): This program is governed by IRS guidelines, limiting the type of changes that can be made. However, for FY21 the mid-year application cycle has been adjusted to provide more opportunities for families to apply and receive increased aid based on eligibility. Therefore, if your financial circumstances change mid-year, making you qualified for a CCSG grant, you will have three application periods to apply beginning in 2021:
- February 15, 2021: 9-month taxable grant
- May 15, 2021: 6-month taxable grant
- June 1, 2021: 12-month tax-free grant
- Increased the age eligibility from five years to 12 years
- Adjusted the household income cap to provide $2,000 award to eligible applicants with household income greater than $225,000
- Reduced the spouse or partner employment requirement from 75% FTE to 50% FTE
- Added a 12-month grace period for spouse or partner employment requirement for new faculty
Based on these new changes, this year’s deadline for applications will be extended from November 2 to November 15.
Enhanced Family Resources
We have several new and enhanced family resources provided by Stanford’s back-up care partner, Bright Horizons, available to families.
- Primary Child Care Solutions: Access expanded care resources with your free Sittercity membership ($150 value). Rely on a discounted local placement service for trained, screened nannies, with the option to be matched with a nanny who is trained as a learning coach to support students with online learning, along with in-person and virtual sitters. Continue to receive preferred enrollment at select Bright Horizons center waitlists and a tuition discount at Bright Horizons partner centers.
- Education & Homework Help Solutions: Access discounts on tutoring, test prep, and enrichment classes with partners like Varsity Tutors, Revolution Prep, and MarcoPolo Learning to help your child navigate this challenging time, including virtual or in-home learning pods or small group learning arrangements.
- Enrichment Activity Solutions: Access World at Home, a library of enrichment activities that brings “the classroom to the living room” to enhance your child’s learning at home. Explore simple, engaging, and fun activities for infants through school-age children.
- Study Club: Use your Back-Up Care days to reserve your child’s spot at a participating Study Club which provides your child dedicated space to attend their online classes, teacher oversight of their virtual learning experience and supplemental activities including STEM, art and movement.
Also through Bright Horizons, you’ll continue to have access to Back-Up Care™, which provides reliable, vetted back up child care in high-quality centers or with in-home care providers. While this is not a new benefit, it is one that has become particularly helpful for many families during this time.
Other Benefits and Resources
This is an incredibly challenging time and while there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, we know that flexibility is essential as we navigate this unusual year. Continue to partner with your Chair or Faculty Affairs Officer to address the impacts you are experiencing from the pandemic, ask for the support you need, and take advantage of the resources available to you. For additional guidance or policy updates, view the Faculty Handbook. For confidential counseling and support, the Faculty Staff Help Center is available to you and your family.
Lastly, I recognize the importance of staying connected. I encourage you to use ParentNet as a way to coordinate care needs with other families in the Stanford community; many families have utilized ParentNet to share care and community caregiving resources in recent weeks.
Managing the challenges of parenting during a pandemic alongside virtual teaching, office hours, research and work activities is exhausting. While it may feel like we are running a race that none of us signed up for with no finish line in sight, I am confident that we will move beyond the challenges of our current reality and rise to meet new challenges, learning and growing from this experience.