Human Resources

Child care at UW

Securing convenient, affordable and reliable child care is a top priority for most parents. Finding child care in the Puget Sound region can be particularly difficult and the University is working hard to increase supports for employee caregivers.

These frequently asked questions provide an overview of resources UW Human Resources coordinates to help meet your child care needs. They include links to additional information about accessing UW’s caregiving programs and services.

What can expectant parents do about child care?
If you are an expectant parent or soon hope to be one, we strongly encourage you to start exploring child care centers now. Yes, even before your baby arrives! The waiting period for infant spaces (generally defined as 12 weeks to 18 months old) can average two to three years. You are reading that correctly: Your child may no longer be an infant by the time there is an infant space available at the center of your choice. You can apply for child care at UW’s on-site children’s centers and through our off-site partners before your child arrives by entering your expected due date/arrival date on the application.

Is on-site child care available at the University of Washington?
The UW has six on-site centers (one at Harborview Medical Center, one at UW Medical Center – Northwest and four on the Seattle campus) providing space for approximately 475 children of UW employees and students. Our on-site child care centers manage requests through a wait pool that has more than 900 children waiting for a space to become available.

Is there help for finding off-site and at-home child care?
Finding child care takes time, whether you are looking for a child care center or an in-home caregiver. UW employees and students receive priority enrollment access to Bright Horizons nationwide and select KinderCare centers in the Seattle area. Husky caregivers also have a free basic membership to Sittercity and receive discounts from local nanny services.

Learn more about off-site or in-home child care.

What financial assistance is available?
UW employees and students receive tuition discounts for off-site care at KinderCare Learning Centers, KinderCare Champions Before-School and After-School Programs and at centers in Bright Horizons’ partner network (not at Bright Horizons centers, however). You are also eligible for discounted nanny services for in-home care. Learn more about tuition and nanny discounts on the off-site and in-home child care webpage.

The dependent care assistance program (DCAP) helps you pay for child care and elder care by allowing you to set aside a portion of your salary for eligible expenses. The money you set aside isn’t taxed, so you save money on eligible expenses for services like preschool, day care, nanny fees, care for a person who is disabled, and other similar services. Learn more on UW’s DCAP website.

Student parents may also be eligible for financial assistance through the student Child Care Assistance Program.

How can I keep informed about child care and parenting resources?
UWHR Work-Life created the parenting@uw.edu listserv to make it easier to communicate with UW employee and student parents. This a moderated list and can be used to share UW resources and programs. Subscribers can send messages to be shared with the group but please note that only businesses that have formal agreements with the University can be promoted through the listserv.

Subscribe to parenting@uw.edu (NetID required).