Childcare option for Drupalcon Chicago?

sarah_p's picture

Based on my own experience, and on conversations at Drupalcon San Francisco, I think on-site child care may be a well received option at Drupalcon Chicago. It does require some space, and organization. I could help with the organizing, and raising money for the childcare and space. This does not mean that it would not cost parents who use the service in addition to their registration fees, but hourly childcare is much cheaper than a nanny full-time plus travel expenses.

Drupal is a work-from-home friendly software, and I have a feeling more people would come who can't otherwise because of being single parents, or where both parents working in Drupal. The company that I received a quote from was They did OSCon 2002, and many other conferences.

The cost varies on the number of children, and how much we charge the parents for it, and is in addition to the space. Total for 15 kids (including parent's cost), is less than the cost of a gold Copenhagen sponsorship.

What I'm needing right now is some gauge of interest both on the side of the organizers and parents. I don't want to run survey's with parents without it being a possibility if there is not enough space at the venue, or if there are other concerns. As I said I can help with organizing the childcare side of things in anyway needed.


+++1 for this!

dougvann's picture

I am not in need of this service but I want to make sure that this thread gets attention.
We have a wider variety of tracks to attract and satisfy a wider range of attendees. It seems fitting to me that we should do a thorough investigation into the options available to satisfy the need for Child care. I don't know that it would be a widely used service; that is I don't see dozens and dozens of children needing to be cared for. Rather, I imagine it would max at abt 20 IF it ever hit 20.
There is a professional service available for this. I can envision a sponsor paying this price and the room becomes the "INSERT_NAME_HERE Kidz Room!" Who knows more about the professional services options?

What does anyone else think?
- Doug Vann

  • Doug Vann [Drupal Trainer, Consultant, Developer]
  • Synaptic Blue Inc. [President]

We're on it

gdemet's picture

I'm one of the lead organizers for DrupalCon Chicago, and we are already exploring various options to provide childcare services for conference attendees, including companies like Kiddie Corp. As with any of the services and amenities that we're planning for DrupalCon, the final decision will come down to how many attendees are interested in childcare, what the costs are, and how it fits into the overall budget and event plan.

If you or anyone else is interested in helping out with this assessment, or have any other good ideas that you'd like to share, please feel free to contact me directly or use the contact form on the DrupalCon Chicago website (

Rest assured that we are committed to doing everything we can to make DrupalCon Chicago 2011 the most family-friendly DrupalCon yet, and hope to be able to make some additional announcements on this front later in the year.

Should have known!

dougvann's picture

I should have known that you guys would be on top of this. That's SWEET!
I have 4 or 5 more camps and some other events this year. I will put some feelers out on who would take advantage IF child care were provided.
Maybe Sarah [Not volunteering you :-) !] could put a poll up somewhere and I can lead ppl to it. My blog gets great traffic. It sounds like I need to post one on some of the new elements that might be coming to the next Con!
Thanks George!

  • Doug Vann [Drupal Trainer, Consultant, Developer]
  • Synaptic Blue Inc. [President]

Thanks for the offer to help

gdemet's picture

Thanks for the offer to help out - as we discussed at DrupalCamp Wisconsin a couple weeks back, we're definitely going to be to looking for some passionate volunteers to help spread the word about DrupalCon Chicago (and stickers) at DrupalCamps this fall.

If we do end up deciding to conduct any polls or other surveys, we have some existing Drupal Association tools and resources that we can draw upon.

All official announcements about DrupalCon Chicago will be made via the website and circulated via Drupal Planet, Twitter, and other channels. In the meantime, we'd prefer that folks not engage in too much public speculation about what might be coming to DrupalCon Chicago, as we want to effectively manage expectations and not end up in a position where people feel like we've overpromised and underdelivered.

Rest assured that we are have some very cool stuff in the works, and you can look forward to some exciting announcements at DrupalCon Copenhagen!

Thanks for your quick reply!

sarah_p's picture

I'll definitely get in touch, and share what I've found and some things I was thinking of doing to see how much interest there is. Thanks again!

Stuck in 5th gear

dougvann's picture

Sorry George,
I'm stuck in 5th gear here. LOL! I'm so excited about what your team is doing. I'll just sit tight and be anxious for the CPH announcements. :-)
- DV

  • Doug Vann [Drupal Trainer, Consultant, Developer]
  • Synaptic Blue Inc. [President]


sarah_p's picture

Is this still a possibility? I can't find anything in regards to this on the website. Thanks!


farriss's picture

We asked a question to gauge interest as part of registration. Based on the responses we've received, there isn't enough demand for the conference to be able to organize something directly, but we will be following up with anyone who indicated their interest with a referral to a local service that offers childcare providers (

While this makes sense

sarah_p's picture

Then I guess my question would be where are the children supposed to be babysat? If you're from out of town and all you have is a hotel room it may not be the best environment to have your child be babysat by someone you are not familiar with.

Because of the lack of response on this I have already arranged for a family member to watch my 2 year old, but I do think that if this was provided and promoted there would be enough demand. Asking a question during registration is probably not enough of a survey to reach those that might need this. Why register for something you know you can't go to because you don't have childcare?

Thank for all your hard work on the conference, I'm looking forward to it.

Lots of nearby options for kids

farriss's picture

There are lots of near by (and indoor) activities for kids, for parent(s) or baby sitters. Outside of the hotel room (which is still going to be the best option for naptime), there are lots of nearby attractions:
- Chicago Children's Museum (,
- The Field Museum of Natural History (,
- Museum of Science and Industry (,
- Shedd Aquarium (,
- Adler Planetarium (,
- The Art Institute of Chicago (,
- Chicago Public Library (
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (
- and more (see:

Not optimal

sarah_p's picture

While these are good options, it is still not as optimal as having on-site care. If you hire someone to take your children there, you have to cover their costs as well as your child's without the benefit of experiencing those places with them. You also have to be comfortable with someone you don't know taking your child around a strange city, perhaps okay for older children but not necessarily best for a younger child.

Overall the cost of one day of care could easily escalate to be in the $150 range, which is prohibitive for most people. Especially those that are single parent freelancers, or those where both parents do Drupal at home. Considering already the high cost of this conference in comparison to previous ones, for most people it just isn't going to be feasible to pay for that kind of childcare.

The benefit of well planned on site care is the option for sponsorships and being able to have more children dilutes the overall cost for parents. I'm not saying that hiring a sitter is not a good idea, but that it's not optimal and I wish that in general conference planners were more willing to allow help with this area and not wait until the last minute to do research. However, this seems to be an issue with most tech conferences, until they actually have childcare and it's hit. Perhaps next year.

To be clear, we did not "wait

gdemet's picture

To be clear, we did not "wait until the last minute", we have been conducting research and soliciting proposals from various firms for over six months, even before your initial post in early August 2010.

Based on the very small number of actual registrants who responded that they might be interested in childcare options at DrupalCon Chicago and the prices quoted to us by various firms, the cost of on-site childcare would easily cost far more than $150/day, even if we were able to get a sponsorship. Our analysis was that for those who were bringing children to DrupalCon, it would almost certainly be less expensive for them to pursue other options. We will be reaching out to those parents who indicated they were interested in childcare options and providing them with helpful resources such as those Tiffany posted above, as well as posting them to the site.

While I understand that this is not the optimal solution for everyone, it is important to understand that we did spend a significant amount of time and effort exploring this issue and trying to make it work.

Please understand I was not referring to effort

sarah_p's picture

I was not referring to waiting on researching the options, but on taking stock as to who might be interested. Unfortunately drupal parents are often very busy, and not always as deeply involved in the community. Various avenues could have been leveraged early on such as at Drupalcon San Francisco.

Registration is too late in the process to bring this up, and this really should have been surveyed much sooner to get a proper response and know what sponsorships and opportunities would exist. However, please do not mistake this to mean that I am devaluing the extensive amount of work you have done.

The question on the

gdemet's picture

The question on the registration form was not the only tool that was used to gauge interest; we also talked with parents about their experiences at past DrupalCons, including Paris 2009, SF 2010, and Copenhagen 2010. The organizers of those DrupalCons shared their knowledge and advice on this topic with us as well, and we also took that into account.


sarah_p's picture

Thanks for the clarification, as an active member of the community who never saw such a survey or heard of any response in months to this post, I just assumed it was not a priority. I'm sorry if this was not the case.

Space and Costs

sarah_p's picture

In response to some questions that have come up via IRC here are the numbers that I was given by http:// Although based on the date of the proposal, and the fact that originally I asked for Monday-Friday for the quote the numbers may be different at this time, but here is what they sent me. Also the staffing ratios range from 1:2 to 1:7 depending on the age of the children which could be a factor in changing the costs.

Space needed: Preferred 75sqft per child (minimum of 50)
Cost: (based on 30 kids) It would about $12,000 with $1,200 of that being programing costs and parents paying $8/hr for 8hrs. (this can also be lowered by a larger portion than $1,200 being sponsored)

Here is the total breakdown from the proposal on costs:

My main concern as this point is space, if there is space available and people were interested in pulling together sponsorship and interested parents that would be awesome. I love working together as a Drupal community to produce amazing things! I would be interested in helping coordinate those efforts. However, I would not want to neglect the Chicago team's efforts or add strain to them at such a late date.

This is not an accurate proposal

gdemet's picture

All venue and sponsorship contracts for DrupalCon Chicago are handled by the Drupal Association, working with the events management company that's been hired to coordinate vendors for the conference. While we appreciate and encourage the assistance of community volunteers, they should not solicit proposals, contracts, or sponsorships on behalf of DrupalCon.

I can tell you that we also received a proposal from Kiddie Corps for the actual venue, dates of the conference, and anticipated number of children. The cost numbers that we received from them were much higher than the numbers you quote here, even when factoring in our available space and potential sponsorships. We also talked with other agencies and got similar answers.

The bottom line is that this a lot of time and energy has already been expended exploring this option, and unfortunately, on-site childcare is not something we will be able to provide for DrupalCon Chicago.


sarah_p's picture

I did not solicit this proposal on behalf of Drupalcon and would never have done so. I was recommended by those at Kiddie Korp to obtain a general proposal before presenting this because of the general difficulty in making this happen. As I mentioned above the numbers are probably off.

The only reason I presented these is because it was brought up in IRC that if space were available there might be some interest in making this happen. Not knowing what avenues you explored or what numbers you were given (as none of those were posted anywhere that I have found) I responded with what I have. I look forward to seeing those numbers and helping to bring this about at some point in the future either as a volunteer or sponsor at future drupal events.

Thanks for the clarification.

gdemet's picture

Thanks for the clarification. The reason that we're not providing on-site childcare at DrupalCon Chicago has nothing to do with available space; it simply came down to not having enough interest and the per-child costs being too high, even if we had been been able to find a sponsorship (and we did try).

If you're interested in making on-site childcare happen at future DrupalCons, I highly recommend that you get involved with the team putting together DrupalCon London ( and/or DrupalCon North America 2012, which will likely be announced in Chicago.


sarah_p's picture

As I will not be attending London, and am already spending a good portion of this year helping with PNW Drupal Summit. I won't be able to help until North America 2012. Thanks for the info and all your hard work, looking forward to Chicago!

If there is space?

sarah_p's picture

If there is space, would it be possible to have a room set aside for a family lounge? Somewhere that parents who are taking turns seeing sessions could hang out and let their kids have a little room to move without stepping on those busy coding on their laptops? This also could be a place that drupal parents and kids could connect and build the community. Thanks again!

Yes, we do have space in the

gdemet's picture

Yes, we do have space in the venue set aside for families and Drupalgangers.


sarah_p's picture

Thanks that alone will make a big difference!

Interested in daycare as well

LEternity's picture

We're interested in daycare/sitter options as well. I never received anything like a survey and I registered fairly early on.

If we can still organize something ad hoc, I'd be more than grateful!


DrupalCon Denver Childcare

Kristen Pol's picture

I'm wondering if childcare is being considered for DrupalCon Denver? I have not seen any surveys or other information about it. I am more likely to attend if childcare is available on-site or very near by.


Drop-In Childcare Options

techgirlgeek's picture
  • Kids Town Drop-In Childcare: (About 5 miles from the Convention Center) 1305 Krameria Street, Unit D, Denver CO 80220

  • I'm looking for more now, but I can personally recommend KidsTown.


Kristen Pol's picture

Thanks for the recommendation!


Denver has a lot of drop in

techgirlgeek's picture

Denver has a lot of drop in daycares. Not sure if there are any in the immediate vicinity of the Conference Center. I will look and get the names and information about local options.


Kristen Pol's picture

Thanks for looking into that!