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Press Release: Mayor Breed Announces Budget Investments to Expand Early Child Care Efforts

In partnership with Supervisor Melgar, the proposed initiatives will build on the City’s groundbreaking early education and child care initiatives by expanding eligibility to moderate income families and piloting extended-hour care to make quality child care and education more accessible and affordable

San Francisco, CA – Today, Mayor London N. Breed announced proposed budget investments to expand the City’s landmark early child care and education efforts to more San Francisco families.  

Mayor Breed, in partnership with Supervisor Myrna Melgar, established the Department of Early Childhood (DEC) to implement key early care and education strategies from Mayor Breed’s Children and Family Recovery Plan to provide targeted support for children and families as they recover from the pandemic. These strategies have: 

  • Helped More Children into Care and Education: Doubled the number of children receiving early care and education subsidies annually (from 6,000 to 12,000) in five years.  
  • Increased Access to Care for Families: Cut the waitlist for subsidized early care and education by 72%.   
  • Expanded Early Education Centers Citywide: The City has built or renovated more than 40 early care and education facilities over the last five years, 17 in the last year alone, creating space for 550 more children.   
  • Supported a More Effective Workforce: Improved retention and recruitment by increasing salaries for over 2,500 educators, including a 47% increase in salary for educators at highest need centers over the last two years. 


The Mayor’s budget continues to fund these critical investments and now she is proposing to expand it to support more families.   

Under the Mayor’s proposed Budget, more than 25,000 San Franciscan families with infants, toddlers, or preschoolers under six years old will be eligible for crucial early care and education financial support. Additionally, the Budget proposes a new program that will pilot evenings and weekend child facility hours to meet the needs of families with non-traditional work hours.  

The Mayor’s proposed budget continues to invest in new and existing infrastructure improvements to ensure early care and education facilities are safe and equipped, as well as bolstering programs aimed to recruit and retain early educators. The Mayor’s proposed budget prioritizes children, youth and families with new and continued investments including citywide after-school summer programming, access to child care, and providing funding directly to the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). 

“Families and kids can’t wait. San Francisco is committed to supporting our families and children by providing a strong foundation for early childhood services,” said Mayor London Breed. “Supervisor Melgar has been a leader and a strong partner in the push to make early child care and education affordable for more families in San Francisco. This investment ensures we are maximizing every dollar so that families have the resources they need to start and grow their families in San Francisco now.” 

“The promise of Baby Prop C is to build out a truly universal early care and education system in San Francisco. With this expansion, we are getting one step closer by bringing more middle-income families into the subsidized network and supporting the early care providers who are the lifeline to our local economy, ” said Supervisor Myrna Melgar.  

Expanding Early Child Care and Education 

In a continued effort to support families and enhance early childhood care and education, the Mayor’s budget proposes a $120 million investment to expand eligibility for financial support for early learning. This expansion will now include families earning up to 150% of the Area Median Income (AMI), or approximately $224,800 for a family of four, an increase from the current cap of 110% AMI, for the next two years. 

Families making under 110% of the AMI who attend child care and preschool programs in the Department of Early Childhood’s Early Learning San Francisco (ELS) network of nearly 500 high-quality child care and preschool programs, will continue to receive full support for their children under 6 years old free of charge, with no interruptions to services and programming. Additionally, newly eligible families who will qualify for financial assistance up to 50% of Early Learning San Francisco rates. 

Additionally, the Mayor’s Budget invests in a pilot program that will extend child care hours for working families. Through this funding, the Mayor proposes adding up to 400 high-quality early child care spaces that are more readily available during non-business hours such as evenings and weekends. This program will strengthen San Francisco’s workforce by providing working families with more flexibility and support. DEC will develop guidelines for standards of care and conduct regular assessment and evaluation to understand the impact of the program. 

“All San Francisco families deserve access to amazing early care and education for their young children,” said Ingrid Mezquita, Department of Early Childhood Executive Director. ” With this expansion, financial support and flexible options become more readily available for San Franciscan families. DEC remains steadfast in our commitment and progress to build a high-quality early care system so that our youngest learners are set up for lifelong success. I am grateful for Mayor Breed’s continued support, which will help create new places for kids to thrive while investing in our early education workforce. These efforts will help make San Francisco a place where every family has what they need for their kids to shine.” 

“Expanding subsidized child care plays a significant role to benefit a child’s academic progress throughout their lives,” said Lila Nelson, Bayview community member and parent advocate with SF Parent Coalition. “It can also reduce learning disparities for children at an early age. If we want to thrive as an economy, we must prioritize access to early childcare for all families, especially families who cannot afford it otherwise.” 

“Every day we see families struggling to raise children in San Francisco,” said Yensing Sihapanya, Executive Director of Family Connections Center. “Expanding income eligibility for child care subsidies will support hundreds of families to stay in San Francisco, access the education and care they need, and contribute to the city’s economic recovery.” 

These investments will be part of the Mayor Breed’s FY 2024-2026 Budget, which will be submitted by the beginning of June to the Board of Supervisors for review and approval. This expansion is funded by Proposition C, also known as “Baby C”, a commercial rent tax that generates dedicated funding for high quality early childhood experiences approved by voters in 2018.