Policy Priorities

Universal Childcare

San Francisco families are grappling with an acute childcare crisis. On top of the rising cost of living, the average family will pay between $22,000 to $28,000 annually for infant care and about $21,000 for preschool care. State reimbursement rates fail to cover the true cost of care, exacerbating financial strains on providers who are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation forces many parents, particularly mothers, to choose between their careers and caring for their children. Providing universal childcare via high-quality preschool is a key component to improving third grade literacy levels, which is one of my top priorities as Mayor. Studies have shown that over time, the economic benefits of universal preschool outweigh the costs. Starting on Day One as Mayor, I will advance the following policies and strategies to deliver universal childcare in San Francisco: 


Support Families with Subsidies to Make Childcare More Affordable & Universal

  • Offer subsidies for low- and middle-income individuals and families to help parents and guardians afford local childcare services, ensuring accessibility across income levels and making childcare more affordable and accessible for all.
    • These subsidies will be portable, so families can choose the provider and schedule that meet their needs, including before and after school care.


Partner with SFUSD to Identify Near-Term Staffing and Space Resources

  • Direct the Department of Early Childhood (DEC) to partner with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to identify opportunities to utilize space and recruit former staff to provide near-term solutions


Establish Long-Term Recruitment Pipelines with Local Colleges

  • Direct the DEC to partner with City College, San Francisco State and University of San Francisco to establish training and recruitment programs for careers in childcare
    • Appropriate space and qualified staff are the two key bottlenecks to resolve to deliver universal childcare
    • SFUSD has excess space capacity and is in the process of realigning its resources


Reform the Leadership and Culture of Department of Early Childhood

  • Hold leadership accountable to results, including installing new leadership if needed
    • In 2022, DEC was formed by combining First 5 and the Office of Early Care and Education; DEC was tasked with rollout out universal childcare
    • DEC has failed to achieve results in spite of having approximately $400 million of funding and ample time for plans to be established


Empower Workers and Increase the Labor Supply to Meet Rising Demand for Childcare

  • Increase childcare facility capacity by raising wages for childcare workers, addressing the shortage of qualified professionals to boost the workforce and increase the availability of high-quality childcare

Boosting Childcare Facility Capacity by Incentivizing Use of Vacant Space

  • Implement new incentives for property owners to fill vacant spaces across San Francisco with childcare facilities 
  • Provide city-funded low-interest loans to property owners and developers to cover the conversion of currently vacant or underutilized spaces into childcare facilities