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Bright Horizons copays are waived for care provided between March 1 - April 30, 2021!

Schedule back-up care for your child and adult or elder loved ones and get the reassurance you need with enhanced COVID-19 protocols.* Visit Bright Horizons to reserve your back-up care and enter User Name: AU, Password: Backup1, if prompted.

*For up-to-date information on back-up care and COVID-19, visit

Dependent Care and Family Services & Resources

Emergency Back-up Care

Bright Horizons® provides you with emergency back-up dependent care when you experience a break down in your regular care. The Care Advantage program consists of a nationwide network of child care centers and in-home care agencies that are available to you at a moment's notice.

AU full-time faculty and staff are eligible for:

  • 15 days for subsidized, emergency back-up care;
  • Copayment of $15/child/day or $25/family/day;
  • Copayment of $8/hour for in-home care.

Dependent care includes children, adults, and elderly loved ones. For example, emergency back-up care can be used when:

  • Your child's school closes due to inclement weather, but you are schedule to work;
  • Your child is mildly ill and needs to stay home from school or day care;
  • You are transitioning care arrangements for your elderly parents or in-laws.

Additional family support

Bright Horizons provides referral services and discounts for non-emergency child care, elder care, pet sitting, tutoring, and housekeeping services.

Nannies, elder care, pet care and more

American University full-time faculty and staff have subsidized access to a database of nannies and sitters for full-time or part-time care, Elder caregivers, pet sitters and housekeepers.

Senior care planning resources

The Bright Horizons web-based research platform assesses your senior care needs. Or you can use their personal assessment partners at a discounted rate.

Test prep and tutoring services

Referral services for private and small group tutoring for SATs/ACTs, standardized tests, common core subjects, and general help for students.

Deals and discounts at child care centers

Preferred enrollment at Bright Horizons centers and tuition discounts nationwide at participating child care centers.

Benefit Details: 

  • 20 days per employee per calendar year (please note, 5 days have been added to the standard 15 for the remainder of 2020).   

  • Center: $15 per child per day or $25 per family per day 

  • In-Home: $8 per hour (up to 3 care recipients, 4-hour minimum copay required)
  • Reserve back-up care up to 30 days in advance 
  • Cancellations must be received by 5:00 p.m. the day prior to a reservation to avoid paying copays and counting towards use 

Out of Network Care:  Offered as an Alternative Care Option – extended to 12/31/2020 

  • Only offered when Bright Horizons is not able to secure care in a center or with an in-home care provider. Bright Horizons will work to find care and only when we determine there are no care options available in your area, you will be then be offered Out-of-Network Care 
  • Employees secure care from their personal network (a neighbor, friend, or babysitter), and receive a $100 reimbursement per day of eligible care 
  •  Simple reimbursement process with payment delivered electronically or via check.

Additional Family Supports:

  • Nanny placement services Local agency support recruiting, vetting, and hiring a nanny – with discounts 

  • Child care priority and discounts Waitlist preference at Bright Horizons centers. Tuition discounts at participating centers nationwide. 

  • Tutoring and test prep Exclusive discounts and quick connections to leading tutors 
  • Sitter & nanny search tools Access to 6M+ live and virtual caregivers, with free basic background checks 
  • Elder care planning resources Objective guidance for caregiving, legal, and financial concerns 
  • Pet sitters & housekeepers Convenient online search with unlimited free use

Enrollment in a Bright Horizon Center:

  • Skip the line over the general community on waitlists at hundreds of Bright Horizons locations

  • Registration fee credit of up to $250 after a month of attending the center

  • Save up to 10%, and get registration fees waived, with exclusive discounts at over 1,000 participating partner centers

Full Time Nanny Placement: Extended beyond the summer

  • High-Touch Support Nanny search begins with a consultation call with local agency, focused on family needs. 

  • Cost Saving Discounts: Discounted placement fees ($300 value) and a 10% total discount on hourly nanny rates. 

  •  Managed Process The local nanny agency recruits and vets potential nannies on the family’s behalf.

Full-time faculty and staff.

Register for free to make a reservation for emergency back-up care or to access any of the dependent care/family services and resources. Advanced registration is highly recommended for the back-up care service. 

  • Register online or by phone, 877-BH-CARES (877-242-2737)
  • Reservations are required
    • Reservations can be made up to one month in advance to the date(s) care is needed
    • Care can be scheduled for up to five consecutive days
    • Reserve care online or by phone

By registering for this benefit through Bright Horizons, you acknowledge that:

  • American University does not endorse or recommend any particular care giver or child care center and makes no warranties or representations as to the quality, safety or other features of such services.
  • The University expressly disclaims any and all responsibility for any issues that may arise with regard to such services.

The University encourages all participants to carefully evaluate any provider they are considering for back up care services.

Cancellations made after 5:00 p.m. the business day prior to care will count as a use and all applicable co-payments will apply.

Bright Horizons

Care consultants: 877-BH-CARES

COVID-19 Updates

Due to COVID-19, the Univesity has increased the number of subsidized back-up care days from 15 to 20 days through the end of the year, as well as extended the Out of Network Care through Dec. 31, 2020. 

Learn More