Family and Childcare

Family and Childcare at Harvard


FAQ on parental leave and childcare for GSAS students

Q1: Is there a resource for official GSAS parenting policies?
A:http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/handbook/family_support_and_benefits.php

Q2: Whom can I contact if I have questions about GSAS parenting policies?
A: Garth McCavana, Dean for Student Affairs (495-1816, mccavana@fas.harvard.edu) and Rise Shepsle, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (495-1814, rshepsle@fas.harvard.edu).

Q3: Can I take leave to care for a new child?
Yes. Students can decide to stay registered or to take a leave of absence.

The administration recommends that graduate student parents, male or female, make arrangements with their department to set their G-clock back one year, regardless of registration status. As the GSAS Handbook says, "The adjustment of the department G-year gives flexibility in determining the completion of department requirements as well as the application of the Graduate School’s G-10 policy"1. The 2008 Survey of GSAS parents found that in practice, only about 20% of students take advantage of G-clock stopping policy2. However, since 2008, efforts have been made to ensure that the G-clock extension is taken advantage of by all graduate student parents.

Q4: Does GSAS offer support for paid parental leave?
A: Yes! HGIWSE was instrumental in convincing GSAS to adopt a paid parental leave policy. You can view details here: http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/family_accommodations/family-friendly-polici...

Q5: How much time do GSAS students take for parental leave?
A: GSAS offers six weeks of paid parental leave, but there is also the option to take more time than that under the Family Leave of Absence Policy. Prior to the implementation of the paid parental leave policy, a 2008 GSAS survey found that most mothers in the humanities took > 3 months, most in the social sciences took > 2 months, and most in science took 2-3 months2. The satisfaction experienced by mothers about the duration of their leave peaked at 3+ months, for which duration most mothers were satisfied; for durations shorter than this, most mothers were unsatisfied and wished for more time.

Q6: Can I maintain my health insurance while on leave?
A: If you remain enrolled while on leave, rather than taking a leave of absence, then you can maintain your Harvard health insurance. In 2008, it was found that in practice, approximately 60% of mothers maintained Harvard health insurance coverage while time off was less than 3 months (for time off greater than 3 months, this number dropped to only 20%).2

Q7: Can I add a child to my health insurance plan?
A: Yes. In order to enroll healthcare for spouses and dependents, students must be fully registered and receive both Blue Cross/Blue Shield and UHS insurance. Enrollment policies and forms for students’ dependents can be found on the HarvardUniversityHealthServiceswebsite. As of spring 2012, the cost to enroll a child for a full year is $2352; the cost to enroll a second child is $1182.

If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant while a student at Harvard, the good news is that the BCBS/UHS plan will cover 100% of your prenatal care and delivery if you choose either prenatal care at University Health Services with their obstetricsteam or the team ofNurseMidwivesatMountAuburnHospital.

Q8: Can I maintain my residence in Harvard Affiliated Housing while on leave? Can I apply to family-friendly Harvard Affiliated Housing?
A: Yes. More information can be found at the HarvardHousingwebsite. Housing for families in Harvard Affiliated Housing is comfortable and comparably priced, depending on the surrounding area. The housing lottery for affiliated housing begins in earnest in the Spring (although there is a smaller lottery for few apartments in the fall). Two family-friendly and popular venues are Holden Green and Shaler Lane, which have apartments >1 bedroom and are located on relatively quiet streets in predominantly residential areas.

Q9: What are some resources for parents looking for childcare?
A: There are six HarvardAffiliatedChildcareCenters. A summary of each center's rates, information and schedules is available here. Be warned, however, that space is extremely limited and it is best if you apply early to each center. The centers often hold open houses in the fall and that will give you a great opportunity to meet the caregivers and see the rooms firsthand. All the centers charge an application fee, which can range from $20 to $60 and is non-refundable.

The WATCH Portal, put up by the Office of Work/Life, allows Harvard parents to post childcare jobs and student caregivers to create profiles and apply for jobs.

The HarvardEmploymentOffice has great resources available through their website for parents seeking childcare, including information on afterschool programs and summer camps. The HarvardMedicalSchoolsOfficeofWorkandFamily also has information about childcare options in the area.

The GraduateParentsgroup is also a great place to query if you are looking for childcare options, such as nanny referrals and baby sitter recommendations.

Q20: I see that Harvard has a lot of great childcare assistance programs for faculty and staff, like the DependentCareFundforShort-TermProfessionalTravel, LadderAccesschildcarescholarshipprogram, childcarescholarshipsforHarvardemployees, and back-upandemergencycare. Are graduate student parents able to take advantage of any of these programs?
A: At this time, none of Harvard’s childcare assistance programs are available to graduate students. All childcare assistance is available only to benefits-eligible Harvard employees. In the past, a pilot program through the Office of Work/Life Resources provided scholarships to graduate students whose children were enrolled in Harvard affiliated childcare centers, but that program was canceled due to lack of funding.

Q12: Is there a GSAS parents group?
The graduate student parents at Harvard University have a private email list which is a great forum in which to meet other parents and can be used for anything from finding a nanny to buying used children's clothing to finding out the most up to date information about Harvard's policies. You can subscribe to the list at the following link: parentsgrouplist


1 GSAS Handbook, Degree Requirements
http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/handbook/degree_requirements.php

2 The 2008 Harvard Parental Accommodation Report.
http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/gsc/gradschool/Parental_Accomodation_Report_2008.pdf


NEW GSAS Parents' Group

The parents at Harvard University have a private email list which is a great forum in which to meet other parents and can be used for anything from finding a nanny to buying used children's clothing to finding out the most up to date information about Harvard's policies. You can subscribe to the list through hcs at the following link:

parentsgroup list


Healthcare for Families


Healthcare at Harvard University is available for both partners and children of parents through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Enrollment policies and forms for students can be found here. Other affiliates can find insurance information at an alternative site, here.

If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant while a student at Harvard, the good news is that the BCBS/UHS plan will cover 100% of your prenatal care and delivery if you choose either prenatal care at University Health Services with their obstetrics team or the team of Nurse Midwives at Mount Auburn Hospital.


Housing


Housing for families in Harvard Affiliated Housing is comfortable and comprably priced, depending on the surrounding area. The housing lottery for affiliated housing begins in earnest in the Spring (although there is a smaller lottery for few apartments in the fall).

Visit the housing office website and read about all of the different housing options. Two family-friendly and popular venues are Holden Green and Shaler Lane, which have apartments >1 bedroom and are located on relatively quiet streets in predominantly residential areas.


Financial Aid for Childcare

Although financial aid for childcare is available for employees of the University, currently it is unavailable for graduate students at Harvard, except for those in the Division of Medical Sciences at the Longwood campus. DMS offers child care scholarships to students. More information can be found at http://www.hms.harvard.edu/dms/resources/parents.html

However, there are some efforts underway to make scholarships available to all graduate students whose children attend Harvard Affiliated Childcare Centers.


Childcare

There are six Harvard Affiliated Childcare Centers and a summary of each center's rates, information and schedules is available here. Be warned, however, that space is extremely limited and it is best if you apply early to each center. The centers often hold open houses in the fall and that will give you a great opportunity to meet the caregivers and see the rooms firsthand. All the centers charge an application fee, which can range from $20 to $60 and is non-refundable.

The Harvard Employment Office has great resources available through their website for those parents seeking childcare, including information on after school programs and summer camps.

The Graduate Parentsgroup is also a great place to query if you are looking for childcare options, such as nanny referals and baby sitter recommendations.

Read about our 2008 survey report on accommodating parental needs in GSAS.