NUHR announces launch of sitters and tutors program, expansions to COVID-19 caregiving support, adoption reimbursement


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Northwestern expanded two initiatives pertaining to caregiving and launched a childcare provider search network.

Yunkyo Kim, Senior Staffer

Northwestern’s Office for Human Resources announced three new developments to family support for faculty and staff in a Thursday release. 

The University expanded two initiatives pertaining to caregiving, including an increase of funds and an extended program end date. It also launched a network program to increase flexibility in childcare and provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. 

Lesley Lundeen, NUHR’s well-being manager, said that support for staff and faculty was particularly critical during a time as stressful as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These new forms of support allow us to expand our existing work-life and well-being offerings in ways that directly respond to our community’s needs,” Lundeen said. 

Notably, the University created the Sitters and Tutors Network — exclusive to the NU community — to aid faculty, staff and students with children in hiring childcare providers. 

Students with a netID can create profiles on a newly launched website. Those looking to hire childcare can then filter by ability and availability to hire a personnel with the best fit. Parents have the option to request background checks. 

While COVID-19 partially motivated the development of the program, it also complemented other childcare support programs offered by the University, the release stated. 

“We hope this new network will help support our community’s childcare and tutoring needs this summer and beyond, as well as provide flexible job opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students,” Manuel Cuevas-Trisán, Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer, said in the release.

The office also redefined qualifications for the Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Program that provides financial support for expenses ranging from adoption agency placement to attorney and court costs. 

The reimbursement program can now be applied to same-sex spouses and domestic partners as well as the “step-parent” adoption, the most common adoption option in the nation. The University also increased funding support from $5,000 to $6,000 for staff or faculty members adopting children with special needs. 

“Over the years, this program has helped so many of our families become parents,” Lundeen said in the release. “This expansion will make it available to even more faculty and staff as they build their families.”

The University also announced an extension for caregivers to apply to the Temporary COVID-19 Caregiving Grant, which provides one-time taxable grants up to $1,500 to aid those caring for dependents. The application is now due on Aug. 27. 

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Twitter: @YunkyoMoonK

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