Back-up Family Care

[English]  [Español]

Back-up Family Care When You Need It Most

UC Santa Cruz has partnered with Bright Horizons® to set up our Back-up Care Program to help all UCSC students and employees access high-quality, subsidized emergency back-up family care when needed.

Back-Up Child Care: Next time school is closed, the sitter is unavailable or you are between child care arrangements, high-quality back-up care is just a click or call away. Register for free, and we’ll secure reliable care for you when and where you need it.

Back-Up Adult and Elder Care: When Mom gets injured, Dad’s recovering from surgery, or the regular caregiver calls out sick, we’ll arrange high-quality back-up care in their home.


  • Faculty, staff, and students can access up to 15 days of back-up care each year.
  • UC Santa Cruz students can access back-up care at subsidized rates. Center-based care is $5 per child/day or $10 per family/day. In-home care for children and adults is $2 per hour.
  • UC Santa Cruz employees can access back-up care at subsidized rates. Center-based care is $10 per child/day or $20 per family/day. In-home care for children and adults is $4 per hour.

Important note on tax implications

The novel Coronavirus pandemic was designated as an emergency under the Stafford Act on March 13, 2020. This declaration triggered the provisions of Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code, which permits employers to provide certain benefits to employees tax-free. Specifically, Section 139 excludes from gross income any amount received by an individual as a “Qualified Disaster Relief Payment.” The establishment of the UCSC Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Program makes it eligible for designation as qualified disaster relief. While the University does not provide individual legal or tax advice, the University's contributions toward the cost of back-up care will not be treated as taxable income for employees and students who use the service while the Stafford Act is in effect.

Once the Stafford Act is terminated, Back up Care users may have to pay taxes related to imputed income in addition to the copay. We will be updating this website with detailed information on tax implications at that time.

Register Now. Book Care When You Need It.

Create your care profile now and find care last minute or up to 90 days in advance.

Step 1: Register

Visit clients.brighthorizons.com/UCSantaCruz

Or download the app on your phone...
Apple App Store button    Google Play button

If you are using the mobile app or searching “back-up care” through a browser, please enter the below credentials to access the registration form...
Username: UCSantaCruz
Password: Benefits4You

Step 2: Complete Your Care Profile

Provide contact information, care recipients, authorized contacts, and care locations.

Step 3: Reserve Back-Up Care

Reserve care online, by phone, or via mobile app. Once care is reserved, you will receive a confirmation email.

Questions? Call 877-BH-CARES (242-2737)

Spanish-speaking consultants are available at the Bright Horizons Call Center.


Bright Horizons Back-up Care Overview Presentation
Bright Horizons Back-up Care Overview Presentation


Information on other family services offered to employees and students:

For questions related to UCSC and back-up care, email backupcare@ucsc.edu.