More than three years ago, when First 5 San Francisco (First 5 SF) and the San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education (OECE) first began planning together and exploring the possibility of more closely integrating our work on behalf of San Francisco’s young children and their families, we had no idea how much our world would change from then to now. There has never been so much promise and opportunity for young children and their families in San Francisco, but the Department of Early Childhood (DEC) cannot rely on expanded resources alone to close the significant gaps in opportunity and outcomes faced by our youngest children.
Over the past two years, we strategically engaged parents and caregivers, and learned that families indeed value and benefit from DEC’s core strategies of early learning, family strength, and child health, yet, their experiences and outcomes are tied to structural racism. They voiced the need to have service improvements in parent engagement, cultural responsiveness, and ease of access to information and services.
The result is our new strategic plan, which lays out a path to not only expand the reach of our programs and services but more importantly strengthen their effectiveness by addressing these strategic priorities tied to racial equity.
It is grounded in firm values that will guide the work as more and more families are supported by these resources. A renewed, intentional commitment to racial equity, in decision making and outcomes, to universal access, community voice, continuous learning, and transparency are all part of the greater vision:
Every child in San Francisco will have the best start in life and our city is a great place to raise a family.
See for yourself. Take a look at our strategic plan to learn what the next five years hold for the Department of Early Childhood.