New child care center offers back-up care program for faculty

A new preschool and daycare center called Bright Horizons had an open house on 923 Parker St. at 5PM on June 20.
Jan Flatley-Feldman/Staff
A new preschool and daycare center called Bright Horizons had an open house on 923 Parker St. at 5PM on June 20.

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UC Berkeley faculty will have a new option for back-up child care near campus with the grand opening this week of the Bright Horizons at Bayer child care center in Berkeley.

Last summer the campus partnered with Bright Horizons Family Solutions to offer back-up care — temporary in-home or in-center care for children and adults when primary caregivers cannot offer care — to its faculty members under the Back-Up Care Advantage Program. The Monday opening of the new child care center on 921 Parker St. represents the closest option for faculty to drop off their young children before a day of work on campus.

“I think that more infant and toddler care brought to the community is a good thing,” said Lisa Bagnatori of the campus Faculty Recruitment & Retention Services. “It is a problem not just related to our faculty, but to the broader community.”

Center Director Jennifer Galloso said the organization has been working for close to 15 years to bring a center to the Berkeley area of the East Bay. The new center offers 11 classrooms to care for up to 149 children between 6 weeks and 5 years of age. Although children of campus faculty will only represent a portion of the clients served, Galloso said she hopes the center and the campus can develop a good partnership.

Eligible ladder-rank faculty and lecturers who register for the Back-Up Care Advantage program can utilize child or adult care at a subsidized price that ranges from $2 an hour for in-center care and $4 an hour for at-home care,  according to the center’s website.

Faculty may utilize a maximum of 40 hours a year of services through the program. Back-up care can be utilized as a safety net in situations when a child or adult relative becomes sick, in between care arrangements, or if work’s demands interfere with the ability to care for a dependent, according to the website.

Bagnatori stressed the importance of the new center because of the lack of child care available for those under 2 years of age.

“There is not enough good infant or toddler care,” Bagnatori said. “There should be another option for the community.”

The program, she said, will help retain the campus’s young faculty with children as well as recruit other young faculty that the campus is competing against other schools for.