Demand for Back-up Dependent Care Surges 33 Percent in 2011 As Families Struggle to Fill Gaps in Child Care and Elder Care Coverage

[WATERTOWN, MASS., JANUARY 25, 2012] – Working parents are experiencing breakdowns in their regular child care or elder care situations on a more frequent basis, prompting them to seek emergency back-up care at all-time high rates. Bright Horizons Family Solutions®, the largest provider of employer-sponsored back-up care, saw a 33 percent jump in back-up care usage in 2011, providing emergency back-up care for families on more than 640,000 occasions.

“Today, many full-time employees are also responsible for the care of elderly parents and young children. This delicate balance between work and family life can easily come undone when regular care breaks down. Employers are fast recognizing this stress and are helping to alleviate it by offering a safety net – back-up care,” said Bright Horizons Chief Executive Officer David Lissy.

“When a freak snowstorm hit the East Coast this past October knocking out power for several days, the value of these types of employee programs became quite real. We were very fortunate to have the ESPN KidsCenter and the Back-up Care Advantage Program® as options for employees during this difficult time. We were able to fill our professional obligations to each other -- and to sports fans nationwide -- because of the dedicated efforts of Bright Horizons,” said Denise Leopoldino, Associate Director, Work-Life, ESPN, Inc.

“Offering back-up care sends a message to our employees that we are concerned in making sure they have a work-life balance, and that while we expect a lot, we’re also willing to back that up by giving our team the resources to deliver on what we expect,” said Marco Diaz, Vice President of Benefits at Thomson Reuters.

On any given day, more than 4.6 million workers at 700 companies across the country rely on Bright Horizons to take care of their family members when their regular care providers are sick, unavailable, or unable to provide care. In fact, 112 companies added this employee benefit through Bright Horizons in the past 12 months.

Families rely on back-up dependent care for a wide variety of reasons, including: 

  • Their children’s school is closed for vacation or weather-related reasons
  • Their stay-at-home spouse has a conflict (such as a doctor’s appointment, jury duty)
  • They are in between care providers
  • Their regular care provider has the day off
  • Their aging parent has new care needs or their regular support is unavailable

Bright Horizons is a pioneer in the field of back-up care. For the past 25 years, Bright Horizons has been offering this service to employers across the country. Families can obtain care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, as well as disabled, ill, or elderly adults.

According to a recent study released by The Consulting Practice at Bright Horizons (

  • 86 percent of respondents reported that in the previous six months back-up care enabled them to work on a day they otherwise would not have been able to; on average, back-up care enabled them to work six days during that time
  • More than 80 of Working Mother magazine’s “Top 100 Companies for Working Mothers” offer either full-service child care or back-up care

Media Contact:

Liz Kennedy
[email protected]