Division Title

Frequently Asked Questions

 
  • Child Care Centers
  • Waiting List
    • QuestionWhy is there a waiting list for the NIH-sponsored Child Care Centers?`
    • QuestionWho is the Wait List Administrator?
      • The NIH has contracted with LifeWork Strategies (LWS) to maintain the waiting list database and keep information current on children up to five (5) years of age. The waiting list information is updated daily.

        Centers use the waiting list to identify which child is the next eligible to fill vacancies, as they occur.

        LWS collects information and maintains data. All decisions about vacancies and enrollment offers are made by the child care center's administrative staff.

    • QuestionWhat about care for school-age children?
      • Executive Child Development Center, Inc. (ECDC) provides limited school-age care and maintains it's own Kindergarten and before and after school care wait list. You must contact the ECDC Administrative Staff at (301) 496-9411 to identify participating elementary schools and place your child's name on the school-age wait list.

    • QuestionCan a Contractor get on the waiting list?
      • NIH Contractors are not eligible for NIH Child Care Centers due to the large number of Federal employees already registered on the wait list.

        Contractors may utilize the NIH Resource and Referral service to locate alternative child care by calling 1-800-777-1720.

    • QuestionWhen should I place my child's name on the waiting list?
      • You may apply for the waiting list as soon as you know you are expecting a child. Registration requires a “due date”.

        Employees who indicate that they are adopting a child will be assigned a date of application that is no greater than nine (9) months prior to the placement of the child with the family.

        You may complete the Online Waiting List Registration Form or call the Wait List Administrator at 1-800-777-1720 between the hours of 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Telephone calls will be returned within two (2) business days.

    • QuestionHow do I determine my Desired Date of Enrollment?
      • You will need to determine when you need care. If you are have child care arrangements that you are happy with, move your Desired Date of Enrollment out one (1) year, and put a reminder on your calendar to reevaluate your Desired date of Enrollment two (2) months prior to that date.

        Once you have determined your Desired Date of Enrollment, you must call the Wait List Administrator at 1-800-777-1720 to have the change made to our child’s wait list profile.

    • QuestionHow do I change my Desired Date of Enrollment?
      • Once you have determined your Desired Date of Enrollment, you must call the Wait List Administrator at 1-800-777-1720 to have the change made to our child’s wait list profile.

    • QuestionWhat is my number/position on the waiting list?
      • There are no “numbers” associated with the waiting list.

        The child care center's administrative staff will call parents on the waiting list based on the following criteria in the order listed below. These very important criteria often make it so that families may not be offered a space even if they have been on the waiting list for a longer period of time.

        • Sibling Status
          NIH employees who have a child currently enrolled in the same center get "sibling priority" for their other children.
        • The Age of the Child
          The first family on the waiting list whose child meets the age requirement will be called. Even if a child is first on the waiting list, if they are 14 months old and the opening is for children 9-12 months old, they will not be called.
        • Desired Enrollment Date (the earliest date you need care)
          Anyone whose desired enrollment date is significantly in the future (more than two months) will purposely be skipped. The Waiting List Administrator encourages employees to review desired date of enrollment on a regular basis.  This avoids parents declining spaces unnecessarily.
        • Position on Waiting List
          The first child on the waiting list who meets the age requirement for that space will get the first offer.

    • QuestionI hear that the waiting list is very long. How long is the wait?
      • The waiting list is very long, over 1,000 names. The largest demand for child care is for children under the age of 2 years. Some children wait several months; some children may never receive a space at a NIH child care center.

        Number of Children on Wait List by Ce​nter and by Age​  (as of September 30, 2014)

        Fortunately, NIH offers a personalized Child Care Resource and Referral Services to employees, and contractors, to assist you in researching alternate child care options. Employees should feel comfortable exploring alternate child care options near their home, work or relatives, and choose a program that meets standards similar to the NIH child care centers.

        For additional information about the NIH Child Care Resource and Referral Services  , you may call 1-800-777-1720 between the hours of 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

        When you contact the NIH Child Care Resource and Referral Services, a child care specialist will discuss your family child care needs and conduct a search for programs that meet those needs. The child care specialist will send you written materials to help you understand licensing standards, program differences and quality indicators. A list of helpful questions will make you feel more comfortable during your search and making your decision about care.

        There are many child care programs located in the Washington Metropolitan area that are noted for high quality child care licensing standards and a professional approach to the provision of quality regulated child care.

        You may find the alternate care is more convenient, more affordable and/or more appropriate for your family needs.

        You may also use the NIH Child Care Resource and Referral Services as often as you wish, at no cost.

    • QuestionWho do I contact to check on my child's waiting list status?
      • You must email each child care center directly with the following information. You will receive a response within two (2) business days.

        Childkind: Please send an email to wilsojay@mail.nih.gov with your child's name and date of birth, and the name of the person who put the child on the list.

        POPI: Please send an email to christina.segura@nih.gov with your child's application date, name and date of birth.

        ECDC: Please send an email to barbara.acquaviva@nih.gov with your child's application date, name and date of birth.​

         

    • QuestionHow are children chosen for enrollment?
        • Highest priority in the enrollment process will be given to children of NIH employees who have siblings currently enrolled in the same center.
        • Priority is given next to parents or legal guardians who work for NIH.
        • Priority is given next to employees of Federal agencies whose official duty station is an NIH facility.
        • Priority is given next to employees of other Federal agencies.

         ​

         

    • QuestionWhy is there a "sibling priority" policy?
      • The sibling priority policy has been instituted in recognition of the paramount importance of family relationships for children during their formative years. Families have more time to develop stronger connections with the center and other NIH families. Siblings are able to interact with one another and to have similar daily experiences with familiar staff and children. This arrangement benefits both the NIH as an employer and the NIH employees by reducing the stress and time placed on families during their transitions to and from home and work.

        If you have a child enrolled at one of the three (3) NIH Sponsored Child Care Centers in the Bethesda/Rockville, Maryland area, you will be eligible for sibling priority at the center your child attends. You must register all siblings on the NIH Child Care Center Wait List.

    • QuestionWhat happens to my child's wait list status if I leave NIH?
      • If you are no longer a NIH or a Federal employee, you are not eligible for a space in an NIH sponsored child care center. Your name will be removed from the wait list.

        If you accept another Federal position within another Federal agency, you will receive a new priority level of "Employees of Other Federal Agencies".

    • QuestionIf both parents work for the NIH, do they get a higher priority?
      • No.​

    • QuestionDo I have a better chance getting my child in the center if s/he is on all three centers ’ lists?
      • No. Each center receives independent data about the names of children waiting for space in that center.

    • QuestionWhy did my co-worker’s child get a space before my child when they put their name on the waiting list after me?
      • Some of the most common reasons for this circumstance may be:

        • The child may have had a sibling already enrolled at the center.
        • The child was the appropriate age for the available space.
        • The child was offered a space in a center that you did not select.

    • QuestionWho do I call if I have a question about the waiting list or wish to update my information?
      • Call the Wait List Administrator at 1-800-777-1720.

  • Enrollment Process
    • QuestionI understand the process can be confusing. Can you provide a better understanding of the enrollment process?
      • The enrollment process is completed by each of the child care center's administrative staff. LifeWork Strategies (LWS) is contracted by the NIH to be the Wait List Administrator and to ensure accurate information is provided to the centers. Openings at the child care centers occur throughout the year when the children “age out” of a program, leave the center for another program or school, move out of the area, etc.

        At ChildKind Inc., openings occur all during the year as the oldest children turn 36 months and move to other programs. Parents of Preschoolers, Inc. (POPI) and Executive Child Development Center (ECDC) find most enrollments are at the beginning and end of the school-year (end of August and mid-June, respectively).

        When there is an opening at one of the centers, the center's administrative staff must first determine if there is another child in the center who needs that space. The number and ages of children  in each classroom is determined by the Maryland State Department of Education  and the National Association for the Education of Young Children .

         For example,
        •  If a three-year-old child leaves the program, there may be a child in a two-year-old room who needs to transition to the older age group. Therefore, when a three-year-old leaves, there could be a space in a three-year-old classroom or in a two-year-old classroom.

        Once it is determined where the space in the center exists, the center's administrative staff will determine the age or birth date range for the child who will be assuming that space. The center's administrative staff will then request a list from the Wait List Administrator of children who meet that age range requirement.

        Using the waiting list of appropriately-aged children, the center's administrative staff would first check to see if there are any eligible siblings of currently enrolled children waiting for that space. If there are none, the center's administrative staff would call the first person on the waiting list based on date of application and the desired enrollment date.

        • Sibling Status
          NIH employees who have a child currently enrolled in the same center get "sibling priority" for their other children.
        • The Age of the Child
          The first family on the waiting list whose child meets the age requirement will be called. Even if a child is first on the waiting list, if they are 14 months old and the opening is for children 9-12 months old, they will not be called.
        • Desired Enrollment Date (the earliest date you need care)
          Anyone whose desired enrollment date is significantly in the future (more than two months) will purposely be skipped. The Waiting List Administrator encourages employees to review desired date of enrollment on a regular basis.  This avoids parents declining spaces unnecessarily. 
        • Position on Waiting List
          The first child on the waiting list who meets the age requirement for that space will get the first offer.

        The amount of time between the center calling the parent and the actual opening varies anywhere from an immediate opening to 3 months.

        For example,
        • A parent leaving the center is required to give a 1 month's notice in writing. The first person on the waiting list would have approximately 1 month before the space opens. If, however, the first person does not accept the space, the people further down on the waiting list would have less than 1 month. If many people are called, the timeframe could be very short.
        When the center's administrative staff contacts a parent about a space, the parent has 2 business days to respond to the initial phone call or email regarding this space. As long as the response is within the 2 business days, the parent will then schedule a tour of the center if they have not already. This visit is usually scheduled within 2 days. A decision accepting or declining the space is expected the morning after the tour of the center.
        For example,
          • If the center's administrative staff calls on a Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the parent has until Monday at 2:30 p.m. to return the call. If the parent tours the center on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., the center's administrative staff will expect a decision by Wednesday morning.
        The center's administrative staff will not call for a current space in the center if the desired enrollment date is significantly in the future (more than two months).

        It is extremely important to keep an accurate desired enrollment date.

        If the first parent declines, the center's administrative staff would call the second person on the waiting list based on date of application and the desired enrollment date, then the third person on the list, then the fourth, etc.
         
        The center's administrative staff then reports all of the information regarding calls made, enrollments, and declines to the Wait List Administrator for data entry.
         
        There is a one (1) decline policy for the wait list.
        • When parents/guardians are offered a space from any of the three (3) child care centers and they decline, the child’s wait list profile will be given a new registration date with the date of the decline.
        • Failure to respond to an offer within two (2) business days will be considered a decline, and the child’s wait list profile will be given a new registration date with the date of the decline.

         

        It is imperative for parents to keep the desired enrollment date accurate to avoid enrollment offers at inopportune times that will result in declining frequently. Parents can do this by contacting the Waiting List Administrator at 1-800-777-1720.

    • QuestionHow are enrollment selections made from the list?
      • Centers enroll children for specific age groups, using licensing requirements to determine ages of children   permitted in certain size groups (the younger the child, the smaller the group). So, Centers enroll based on children’s age.

        Within a specific age group, parents are called on a first-come, first-served basis, using the date they were placed on the waiting list, their desired date of enrollment, and in accordance with the priority order mentioned above.

    • QuestionDo Centers have “peak” enrollment times, when there are many openings?
      • Enrollment occurs year-round. However, specific centers may have “peak” times.

        ChildKind, Inc. reports: “Openings occur all during the year as our oldest children turn 36 months and move to other programs”.

        Parents of Preschoolers, Inc. (POPI) reports: "Although enrollments occur at all times during the year, most enrollments are during June and August”.

        Executive Child Development Center reports: “Although there are occasional openings throughout the year, the beginning of the school-year (end of August or beginning of September) creates many enrollment openings. The end of the school-year (mid-June) also brings about openings.”

    • QuestionWho can I contact to find out about the likelihood of a space becoming available?
      • You must email each child care center directly with the following information. You will receive a response within two (2) business days.

         
        Childkind: Please send an email to wilsojay@mail.nih.gov with your child's name and date of birth, and the name of the person who put the child on the list.
         
        POPI: Please send an email to christina.segura@nih.gov with your child's application date, name and date of birth.
         

         

        ECDC: Please send an email to acquavib@mail.nih.gov with your child's application date, name and date of birth.

         

         

    • QuestionWho will contact me about an opening?
      • The child care center's administrative staff will contact you via telephone or e-mail, so keep your contact information up-to-date. If you are out of the office for an extended period of time, such as vacation or maternity leave, please make sure it is indicated on your voice and e-mail.

    • QuestionHow much advance notice do I receive if there is an opening for my child?
      • Centers try to give parents as much notice as possible, however, in the event of an unexpected vacancy, the center director will work with you to accommodate the specific situation.

    • QuestionWhat will happen if I am contacted about a space while I am on vacation or maternity leave?
      • If you are out of the office for an extended period of time, such as vacation or maternity leave, please make sure it is indicated on your voice mail message and email. When a child care center's administrative staff receives your out of office notice, they will try to contact you using all of your contact information. If they are unable to reach you, you will not receive a decline. However, the space will not be held for your child.​

    • QuestionHow much time do I have to make up my mind about accepting a space when it is offered?
      • Once you receive notice of a vacancy from the center, you will have two business days to respond to the center.

        If you do not respond to the notice within two business days, you will be documented as having declined the space,

        and your child’s wait list profile will be given a new registration date with the date of the decline.

         

        If you have not visited the center previously, an appointment will be made.

    • QuestionHow do I schedule a tour of one of the centers?
    • QuestionWhat happens if I decline a space?
      • There is a one (1) decline policy for the wait list.

        When you are contacted by any of the three (3) child care centers and are offered a space , and the space is declined, your child’s record will be given a new registration date with the date of the decline.

        The Waiting List Administrator encourages employees to review their information and desired date of enrollment on a regular basis so that they are less likely to be offered a space that cannot be accepted.
         
        Failure to respond to an offered space within two (2) business days is also considered a decline, and the child’s wait list profile will be given a new registration date with the date of the decline.

    • QuestionWhat happens if I leave NIH?
      • If you are no longer a Federal employee, you will be given a two month “grace period” to make other arrangements for care.

    • QuestionWhat happens if I accept a Federal position with another Federal agency?
      • Your child(ren) currently enrolled within a NIH sponsored child care center are permitted to stay until he/she ages out of the program. Any siblings on the NIH wait list will receive a new priority level of "Employees of Other Federal Agencies" and will not be eligible to receive sibling priority.

    • QuestionWho do I contact to get information about the Enrollment Process?
  • Subsidy Program
  • NIH Back-up Care Program
    • QuestionWhat is the NIH Back-up Care Program?
      • The NIH Back-up Care Program offers a comprehensive array of emergency and/or short term care for children, adult/elder dependents and self-care across the United States. NIH Federal employees can use this program when they need to be at work and their regular child or adult / elder care is unavailable.

        NIH has contracted with Bright Horizons to provide access to the Back-up Care Advantage Program. This service will assist in balancing the competing demands of work and life.

    • QuestionWhat is the Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Advantage Program?
      • The Bright Horizon Back-Up Care Advantage Program® is designed to provide you with back-up care whenever your normal dependent care arrangements are unavailable. Bright Horizons’ extensive network encompasses thousands of care centers and in-home care agencies that have been identified and invited to join their network to support the needs of NIH workforce within the United States. Each provider is monitored for performance through a comprehensive quality assurance program administered by Bright Horizons.

    • QuestionWho is eligible to use the NIH Back-up Care Program?
      • The NIH Back-up Care Program is available to NIH Federal employees. 
        A vaild NIH email address is required.

    • QuestionAre Contractors eligible?
    • QuestionWhen might I use back-up care?
      •  

        NIH Federal Employees can use the service for planned needs and last minute emergencies, such as:
        • School vacations
        • When the regular caregiver is ill or on vacation
        • During maternity transition
        • To accommodate flexible work schedules
        • When the regular caregiver has a doctor or other appointment
        • When a full-time center is closed
        • To give the regular caregiver or stay-at-home spouse a day off
        • To assist with employee relocation.
        • When children are mildly ill

         

    • QuestionCan I use the NIH Back-up Care Program while on travel?
      • Yes, if you are on official NIH travel orders, either at home to fill child care gaps or at the destination.

    • QuestionWhat types of Back-up Care are available?
      • Back-up care can take several forms, depending on your needs. Some common examples of the back-up care available include:
        • Caring for a well child in a child care center or in your home because his or her regular child care is not available (Accommodates children ages 6 weeks - 12 years)
        • Caring for a child who is mildly ill in your home (Accommodates children ages 6 weeks – 12 years)
        • Caring for an older adult / elder relative who requires companion services (Accommodates dependents ages 13 years and beyond)
        • Caring for an older adult / elder relative who requires personal care, such as help with dressing, bathing, toileting etc.(Accommodates dependents ages 13 years and beyond)
        • Care for yourself when you are recurring from a treatment or illness

    • QuestionWho can receive care?
      • You and any child or adult relying on you as a primary caregiver qualify to receive care.

    • QuestionHow do I register?
    • QuestionIs there a fee for care?
      • Yes, the fee will differ depending on the type of care requested.

        • In-Home Care: $16.00 per hour/ up to three (3) children or adults 
        • Center-Based Care:  $6.00/per hour/ per child  

        NOTE: There is a 4 hour minimum for all care.

    • QuestionHow is the fee collected?
      • Payments for all programs are collected at the time a reservation is confirmed by the Back-Up Care Advantage Program consultant. Fees are payable by credit card or electronic fund transfer (EFT).

    • QuestionWhen should I make a reservation?
      • You can request care up to 30 days in advance or on the same day care is needed. Every effort will be made to accommodate your request. Care availability is not guaranteed and will depend on the availability of providers on any given day.

        A trained consultant can assist you with your care needs, identify options available, and make arrangements on your behalf.

        NOTE: Before you use a child care center in the network, you will be asked to complete enrollment forms that are required to meet state licensing and provider requirements. Consultants will be able to provide you with those materials. Before you use a home health care provider, you may be asked to complete forms required by agencies that require more information about your care needs. Consultants will be able to provide you with the appropriate materials.

    • QuestionWhat if I need to cancel my reservation?
      • If you need to cancel your reservation, you must contact Bright Horizon before 5:00 pm (local time) on the business day prior to the day of care is scheduled. Any cancellations received after this time will be considered late, will be counted as a day of care, and will result in you being charged.

    • QuestionWhen and how often can I use the NIH Back-up Care Program?
      • Back-up care can be used when you need to be at work and your regular child or adult/elder care in unavailable.

        You may use up to 10 days of care/per employee/per calendar year.

    • QuestionWho is providing the care?
      • THe NIH has contracted with Bright Horizons to provide access to the Back-Up Care Advantage Program nationwide network of quality child care centers and trained, credentialed home health care professionals including hundreds of licensed Bright Horizons child care centers.

    • QuestionHow does Bright Horizons select the child care center providers in the network?
      • Bright Horizons selects centers whose teacher-to-child ratios are consistent with NAEYC guidelines where possible, or meet or exceed state licensing requirements. When centers join the network, they are asked to verify that their employment screening process is consistent with state licensing requirements, including criminal background, education/credential, and reference checks; health exams; and CPR/first aid training. The Back-Up Care Advantage Program is the only provider network that includes Bright Horizons’ own network of high-quality child care and early education programs.

    • QuestionWhat is “mildly ill child care”?
      • Mildly ill back-up child care is for children with a common, short-term illness or symptoms of an illness that have caused them to be excluded from their regular child care setting. Some examples of the types of illnesses or symptoms experienced by children receiving mildly-ill back-up child care include a fever, diarrhea, or a rash with a fever. To know if your child qualifies for mildly-ill child care, call Bright Horizons at (877) 242-2737 and describe his/her symptoms or illness when making your reservation.

    • QuestionHow are home health care agencies selected by Bright Horizons? How do you ensure quality care?
      • Bright Horizons works with credentialed in-home care agencies that comply with the regulatory requirements of their state. Specifically, they ensure that the agencies have an extensive screening process, perform background checks and health exams, provide proof of credentials, and thoroughly verify employment references.

        Bright Horizons looks at how caregivers are managed, trained, and supervised. Specifically, they seek competencies in the areas of stress management, elder care, and positive behavioral management of children. Bright Horizons also ensures that the caregivers receive ongoing training in stress management and safe care

        A multi-tier approach to monitor the quality of care is used, working closely with the families to educate them about the optimal care environment and working with the home health agency to provide quarterly communications about current trends, areas for caregiver training, and updating competency areas. Finally, continually asking for feedback from families about their care experience supports ongoing improvement of the service.

    • QuestionWho will be providing adult / elder care? What types of care can they provide?
      • Non-medical care activities are typically provided by sitter companions, while medical care is provided by certified nurse assistants, credentialed practical nurses, or registered nurses, depending on the medical skill level required. Personal care assistants and home health aides may also provide care.

        Non-medical care of older adults can include meal preparation, bathing and grooming, and companion services. Medical care for older adults can include administration of medication, and blood pressure or diabetes monitoring.

         
        Additional fees apply for the provision of medical care.

    • QuestionWhat other resources are available to NIH Community?
    • QuestionWho do I contact if I have additional questions?
      • Please contact the NIH Child Care Team at (301) 402-8180.