We have officially merged First 5 San Francisco and the San Francisco Office of Early Care & Education to create the Department of Early Childhood. We are very excited for everything to come from this new official city and county department.
First 5 and OECE have long histories of supporting young children and families in San Francisco through innovations in early care and education, family support services, and child development. As collaboration between these two organizations increased, we realized we could be even better together! Now, as a new, unified department, we are excited to continue collaborating with you in the next chapter of supporting San Francisco’s youngest.
This merger paves the way for expanded and integrated early childhood services. That means that you will find coordinated, aligned support and resources, all in one place. With the additional funding comes additional capacity, which is exciting because San Francisco has about 35,000 children under 5. We want to support the safe and healthy development of every single one of them. As the City’s largest funder of early childhood, DEC is committed to creating a system that ensures every child can thrive and learn. We provide all of the same services you know and trust– public investment, expertise, and leadership– to put resources into the hands of those who care for our City’s youngest children today.
As much as this is about creating space for integrated services and expanding capacity in the near term, the creation of DEC demonstrates San Francisco’s long-term dedication to early childhood and the early childhood workforce. We know that taking care of children means taking care of the people who educate and care for them. The work that providers do is the backbone of our future and the frontline of our community. DEC is a committed partner to these professionals and the steward of voter-approved Proposition C funds for child care and early education.
We are excited for what is to come. DEC takes into account changing demographics in the City, burgeoning interest in early education at the state and national levels, and opportunities for continuous quality improvement at every level—all with a commitment to equity, to ensure that every child in San Francisco is getting what they need.
What do YOU need? Explore our website to find out more about the services we offer and the opportunities for support.