What happens if you don't find child care when you need it?

Plus, three actionable steps you can take to increase your chances of finding care.

The child care journey is a process, and not without its up and downs. It can be hard to stay patient with the additional pressure of enrolling in care by a certain date. Whether it's the urgency of you or your partner returning to work, your child aging out of their current program, a caregiver leaving, there are plenty of scenarios that set a hard deadline on the search for child care.

So what happens if you've exhausted your options and you still don't find child care when you need it? Don't worry. Believe it or not, there are impactful, actionable steps that all parents can take to increase the chances of finding care.

Here are the top three things you can do:

1. Join waitlists.

If you haven't already, we recommend joining at least three waitlists. You can do this easily through the LegUp Marketplace, where you can also check your waitlist status any time, day or night.

2. Come up with a "blended care" solution.

A "blended care" solution is a combination of long-term and temporary care options. For example, you may have care 3 days a week and then supplement with independent caregivers like babysitters, nannies, and family members.

Blended care solutions are completely normal, even for families with children currently enrolled in a full-time program. It takes a village to raise a child! Teacher sick days, vacations, center closures, holidays—there will always be a handful of days throughout the year when care falls through and requires backup. Having a blended care solution already in place can save you from urgently trying to cobble together care at the last minute.

3. Find back-up care options.

Many families turn to babysitters, nannies, and family members for backup care, but life happens and they might not be available when you need them. Drop-in days at select child care programs are a more reliable and structured backup care option. For free, personalized help locating backup care options, email LegUp at support@legup.care!


While it can be hard not to worry about finding child care with a deadline looming, remember to stay calm, take inventory of your resources, and make an actionable plan. And if you need help finding the right programs for you, let LegUp match you to care! Just take The Child Care Concierge survey to get started.