Working during COVID-19

Child care options and resources

Updated May 29, 2020

This page will be updated as new resources become available. If you have a community resource that you would like to share on this page, email

Child care options for UW employees whose positions don’t allow telework

With child care in high demand, the following resources are only available to employees whose positions require them to work in UW’s medical centers or on campus providing patient care and/or sustaining critical operations.

UW Child Care Aware COVID referrals: The Child Care Aware COVID Referral Center will connect UW families to vacant child care slots in the community.

The referral center offers multi-lingual service and is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call 1-800-446-1114 and press “1” to request child care. Press “1” a second time to indicate you are a healthcare worker or first responder. Tell the operator that you work for UW Medicine or UW Police. You will be provided registration information for available child care options that meet your criteria, e.g., age of children, home or work locations and hours needed for care.

Backup care through Bright Horizons and KinderCare: KinderCare and Bright Horizons have limited COVID-19 backup spaces for UW critical employees at their local centers; Bright Horizons also has a service that will send a care provider to your home. Explore options for backup and sick-child care.

UW Child Care Connections: UW Human Resources established UW Child Care Connections to support employees whose positions required them to work in UW’s medical centers or on-campus at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. The program has been made possible because many UW students and family and friends of UW employees were willing to serve as caregivers during spring quarter. We are assessing the possibility of continuing this program and will update this site before July 1 with more details. Please contact if you have questions in the meantime.

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Community child care options open to all

With many child care programs serving only critical health care workers and first responders, many UW employees are working with children at home which can make remote work especially challenging. UWHR is encouraging supervisors to be flexible and patient as parents juggle work and home life.

The following community resources are open to all UW employees:

Child Care Resources is the state’s child care referral hub during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call 1-800-446-1114 to be connected directly to vacant child care slots in the community. Child Care Resources will be able to refer you to local child care providers who have space, including the programs listed below. Families are also welcome to contact these providers directly.

Boys and Girls Club of King County will provide child care at nine locations around the Seattle metro area. The organization has the ability to host 1,500 to 1,800 children on average each day, according to Laurie Black, president and CEO. Families with memberships currently pay a $50 membership fee and then $25 per day per child. For teens, there is no additional daily fee. Scholarships are available. Register here.

Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue will provide critical child care services for first-responders, medical professionals, essential workers and vulnerable children. Youth will receive academic support, enjoy fun activities and receive two healthy meals. The cost is $50 per week. Register here.

YMCA full-day break camps. The YMCA will be offering camps throughout the county for the families of medical personnel, first responders, and anyone who needs to work to support the community ($45 daily fee). Register by emailing

Seattle Public Schools is partnering with its child care partners to re-open child care centers in schools throughout the city. The Seattle Public Schools child care website lists current openings and will be updated as more child care sites open in the future. Parents are asked to contact child care providers directly about enrollment. Priority will be given to students experiencing homelessness, children whose families qualify for Free and Reduces Lunch supports, and children of first responders which includes medical personnel, hospital/clinic personnel, EMTs, firefighters, essential SPS staff providing meals, child care workers, grocery store workers, and pharmacy.

School Sites for Student Lunch Support. Starting Monday, March 16, these schools will serve lunch for all Seattle Public Schools students Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., for the duration of the school closure. Grab and go meals are available for students, but students cannot stay at the school to eat them because of social distancing guidance from state and local health agencies. Get more details here.

The Whole U has coordinated discounts with the Nanny Parent Connection, Annie’s Nannies  and On Call Nanny. Visit The Whole U Discounts site and search under “childcare services” for more details.

Facebook groups such as “Seattle Help for Parents & Caregivers During Covid-19 Outbreak” started on March 11, the day Seattle Public Schools announced a minimum two-week closure. Another group called “SPS COVID 19 school closure parent survival page” has around 1,500 members.

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