Bring the kids
Conference and visiting child care service allows faculty and staff to combine professional and family opportunities
By Mary Everley
Brief, June 13, 2007
You've been invited to present a paper at your professional association's conference in San Francisco. It's a great career opportunity, and you've always wanted to explore the Bay Area. But what will you do with the kids while you're gone? It would be great to combine work and pleasure and take them with you--if only you had someone to take care of them while you're at the conference.
The conference and visiting child care service makes it possible.
Typical child care centers are open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, leaving those who need after-hour or weekend care without recourse. That means faculty and staff with young children often are discouraged from attending overnight meetings or longer conferences. In response to the need for extended care and to help retain new scholars in the tenure pipeline, the Relocation Assistance Program and the WorkLife Program explored local and national conference child care options.
Conference and visiting child care uses resources available through Career Life Alliance Services (CLAS), the University's child care resource and referral service, and provides child care information for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the United Kingdom. To access the network, log on to Conference and Visiting Child Care Services and click on the CLAS link. Select the state where you'll be attending the conference, and you're on your way to connecting with child care providers in the conference locale.
So pack your bags and start singing, "California, here I come!" Toss in the camera and the stroller along with our research paper. By using conference and visiting child care services, you can combine your roles as scholar and parent.
Event organizers can find resources, too
Conference and event organizers who are coordinating an upcoming conference on the Twin Cities campus and working to coordinate child care may also take advantage of this service. A limited listing of providers is available at WorkLife Child Care. These providers have agreed to offer conference or temporary child care for attendees of U of M events. The list includes nanny services and child care centers located near the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses and within the vicinity of both downtown areas.
For conference care, individual or group care and site location may be negotiated with the provider. Some area hotels also provide rooms that may be used for cooperative child care. You'll need to check with hotels about their facilities, licensing expectations, and preferred providers. The University Child Care Center is occasionally able to accommodate requests for child care for those attending a conference on the Twin Cities campus, but arrangements must be made well in advance. Conference organizers should see the U of M Child Care Center for more information.
Need temporary resources in the Twin Cities?
The same system that works for U of M faculty and staff traveling to out-of-state locations also works locally. Faculty and staff from other colleges and universities who plan to attend conferences or meetings in Minnesota may use the CLAS system to search for child care providers in the Twin Cities. On the conference and visiting child care Web site, select Search Child Care in Minnesota.
Temporary child care is available for visitors to campus--candidates in town for interviews, new faculty and staff looking for housing, and faculty and staff from other U locations statewide who are attending meetings.
These same temporary child care options are also available for Twin Cities campus faculty and staff. If your child care provider is unexpectedly unavailable for the day or you're caught in a child care emergency situation, consider drop-in child care.
For more information on conference or visiting child care, contact the Relocation Assistance Program at 612-626-0775, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caring for a parent or elderly family member? See the WorkLife Web site for elder care options, too.
Mary Everley is the program director for Relocation Assistance Program, Office of Human Resources, Twin Cities campus.