18.419 conference childcare

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 07:21:42 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 419.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 07:13:42 +0000
         From: Susan Hesemeier <s.hesemeier_at_utoronto.ca>
         Subject: Conference Childcare

I have received some inquiries about the conference childcare issue after its
mention in Humanist 18.374, and the following might serve as useful
information for those currently planning conferences:

Major conferences: along with its information on accommodation and
transportation, the MLA offers information for conference attendees requiring
childcare. It employs the services of KiddieCorp, a company that since 1986
has "provided high quality programs to children of all ages at conventions,
trade shows, and corporate events throughout the United States and Canada"
(http://www.kiddiecorp.com). The company markets itself as a good service for
conference organizers who realize that "More family-minded professionals
participate when they can bring along their children". They are insured,
employ trained and screened staff, and appear to be able to help with figuring
out the best way to pay for the service: "A KiddieCorp program can be as
simple or as elaborate as you like-- We know cost is a factor and we work with
you to find the right balance of subsidy, sponsorship, and parent registration
fees to make the children's program a success." The MLA even offers grad
student childcare discounts!-- "The cost for regular members is $45 per day
for one child and $15 per child per day for each additional child; for
graduate students, $25 per day for one child and $15 per child per day for
each additional child" (http://www.mla.org/convention_services#cc). I have
never organized a major conference, and I have not yet attended an MLA
conference, but this system looks like it might work quite well-- if anyone
has first-hand experience with these types of children's programs at
conferences, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Smaller conferences: there may be no attendees in need of childcare. But it
might not be appropriate to assume that this will always be the case: there
may be a few, and this would likely depend on the disciplinary orientation of
the conference. A note about childcare should still be included in the CFP
and advertisements, something along the lines of: "Should childcare be
required at the conference, please inform the organizers and we will help you
to find childcare". Companies such as KiddieCorp may still be helpful for
smaller conferences, as they might be able to arrange for smaller numbers of
children: they say, "Whether it is a week-long convention or a one night
party, you can count on KiddieCorp to handle your children's program". Again,
I have not experienced first-hand how these marketing slogans are played out
in real-life, but I would imagine that if a conference is being held in an
organizer's hometown, it might also be practical to see whether other profs'
trusted friends or teenage children would like to babysit for a day, although
this option would not be insured, and would require conference attendees to be
comfortable leaving their children with caregivers that may not have received
specialized training or screening.

Susan Hesemeier, PhD Student
Department of English
University of Toronto
Received on Mon Dec 13 2004 - 02:39:52 EST

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