Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
San Francisco Department of Early Childhood Infrastructure Systems Administrative + Governance Models

City and county partnership

In July 2022, Mayor London Breed launched the San Francisco Department of Early Childhood (DEC), dedicating $300 million annually to support the city’s goal of providing universal early education and care to all young children. The bulk of the revenue comes from the Commercial Rents Tax (also referred to as the Early Care and Education Commercial Rents Tax). DEC is the result of a merger of two existing city departments, First 5 and the Office of Early Care and Education.

Learn more/source: San Francisco Department of Early Childhood
Compensation and Retention for Early Educators Stipend (CARES 3.0) Workforce Bonuses and Supplemental Pay

$4,000 – $39,100 per educator or FCC owner per year, depending on several factors

First implemented as CARES 2.0 using funds from fiscal years 2017 and 2018, CARES 3.0 is the newest version of a stipend program designed to support more than 2,000 early educators working across San Francisco's city-funded center-based and family child care (FCC) programs. The city anticipates investing $60 million annually to support this program. To be eligible for stipends, educators must:

  • Be employed by an Early Learning Scholarship (ELS; San Francisco’s subsidy system) or Preschool for All (PFA) program that has been deemed eligible by the Department of Early Childhood, and;
  • Work directly with children for at least 20 hours per week

Awards are determined based on educator role, part-time or full-time status, education level and experience, and proportion of subsidy-eligible children served. Stipends begin at $4,000 and increase to $39,100 per educator or FCC owner per year; higher amounts are reserved for those with the highest educational attainment and percentage of subsidy-receiving children served. FCC owners are eligible for the highest stipend amounts.

This program is paid for through a commercial rent tax passed in 2018 (Prop C, referred to as "Baby" Prop C, a Commercial Rent Tax for Childcare and Early Education).

Learn More: CARES 3.0


San Francisco Office of Early Childhood. (2023). CARES 3.0.

San Francisco Office of Early Childhood. (2023). CARES 3.0. Eligible Programs.

San Francisco Office of Early Childhood. (2023). CARES 3.0 FAQs.

San Francisco Office of Early Childhood. (2023). CARES 3.0 Stipend Amounts.

The Pilot Early Childhood & Special Education Apprenticeship Program Workforce Apprenticeships

City partnership with local college

Established in 2021, the Pilot Early Childhood & Special Education Apprenticeship Program in San Francisco is a formal partnership between the City College of San Francisco Child Development and Family Studies Department and San Francisco Unified School District. Apprentices begin as an Early Childhood Teaching Assistant, a Transitional Kindergarten Teaching Assistant or a Special Education Paraprofessional working in pre-K and kindergarten classrooms. All programs include training in special education. The apprenticeship has two tracks that each last up to 34 months, and both lead to an Early Childhood Teaching Permit. The program provides 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, and participants can take courses at City College of San Francisco. The program receives $800,000 in funding from the Strong Workforce Program.

Learn More: City College of San Francisco Early Childhood & Special Education Apprenticeship


City College of San Francisco. (n.d.). Early Childhood & Special Education Apprenticeship.

City College of San Francisco. (n.d.). Strong Workforce Program Strategic Plan 2020-2023

Child Care and Development Infrastructure Grant Program Expansion Physical Space and Facilities

Ongoing funding

In 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill No. 131 into law. The bill includes $579 million in funding for child care and preschool providers, including $250 million in infrastructure grants to build or renovate child care facilities, with a focus on underserved areas. This law establishes the Early Learning and Care Infrastructure Grant Program under the administration of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to expand access to early learning and care opportunities for children up to five years of age by providing resources to build new facilities or retrofit, renovate, or expand existing facilities. This law appropriates $245,000,000 from the General Fund to the State Department of Education for these purposes, to be released on a prescribed schedule. The Early Learning and Care Infrastructure Grant Fund offers up to $1.5 million for Child Care and Development Centers and up to $100,000 for Family Child Care homes.

The grant can be used to increase licensed spaces by renovating or building out an existing facility by adding classrooms, constructing a brand-new center-based facility, replacing a facility lost due to a state or federally declared disaster, or expanding Small Family Child Care Homes to Large Family Child Care Homes.

Learn More: child care and development Infrastructure Grant Program

Northern California Small Business Development Center. (n.d.). Infrastructure Grant Program
California Legislature. (n.d.). AB-131 Child Development Programs.
Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. (2021). Governor Newsom Signs Legislation Supporting Working Families and Child Care Providers.
California Department of Social Services. (n.d.). New Construction and Major Renovation.

Family Child Care Apprenticeship Workforce Apprenticeships

State-funded program

The California Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Early Educator Apprenticeship Program provides apprenticeships for educators in family child care (FCC), center-based child care, and Head Start programs. The FCC Apprenticeship provides training for family child care providers and covers the cost of tuition, books, a laptop, a Child Development Permit application, and the required background check. Participants receive monthly "wage enhancements" of $100 to $450 after completing four months of the program. The program is run as a cohort model, and coaches visit apprentices twice per month. FCC apprentices earn credentials that culminate in California’s Child Development Permits. Permits are not mandated for licensed FCC providers, but FCC providers who choose to enroll in the state’s Quality Rating Improvement System, Quality Counts California, will earn points tied to funding as they obtain credentials. Funding comes mostly from state and federal initiatives for workforce development. Since its inception, Early Educator Apprenticeship Program staff have raised over $4 million in grant funding, primarily from the California Apprenticeship Initiative and the Workforce Accelerator Fund, with roughly $1.2 million supporting the FCC program. The program has been supported by two California Apprenticeship Initiative grants, four Workforce Accelerator Fund grants, and in-kind donations from individual program sponsors.

Learn More: California Department of Education


Franchino, E. (2020). An Apprenticeship in California Designed for Family Child Care Providers. New America.

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. (2019). Strengthening the Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Identity of Early Educators.

Learning Policy Institute. (2019). Promising Models for Preparing a Diverse, High-Quality Early Childhood Workforce.

"Baby" Proposition C Dedicated Funding Streams Property Tax

Tax is expected to generate approximately $146 million annually to support early education

In 2018, 51% of San Francisco voters approved Proposition C ("Baby" Prop C), a Commercial Rent Tax for Child Care and Early Education. The proposition authorized an additional tax on commercial property and leases with annual gross receipts over $1 million; nonprofits and other small businesses are exempt. 85% of the revenue generated by this tax is designated for child care and early education. The remaining 15% is deposited in the city/county General Fund for other city-approved uses. The tax is expected to generate approximately $146 million annually to support child care and early education; these funds may be used to:

  • Support quality early care and education for children under the age of six in San Francisco families at 85% or less of State Median Income (SMI);
  • Support quality early care and education for children under the age of four in San Francisco families earning up to 200% of the Area Median Income (AMI);
  • Invest in comprehensive early care and education services that support the physical, emotional, and cognitive development of children under the age of six;
  • Increase compensation (including but not limited to wages, benefits, and training) of care professionals and staff in order to improve the quality and availability of early care and education for children under the age of six.
Learn more: Baby Prop C

San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education. (2021). Baby Prop C Fact Sheet - Legal Uses and Allocation.
Children's Council San Francisco. (2021). Children’s Council Celebrates the Passage of Prop C by CA Supreme Court."

Child Care Facilities Fund Expansion Physical Space and Facilities

Ongoing funding

In 1998, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, Department of Human Services, and Mayor’s Office of Community Development partnered with private foundations, other funders, and the Low-Income Housing Fund (now the Low-Income Investment Fund), to launch the Child Care Facilities Fund (CCFF). CCFF creates opportunity for low-income families and improves both center- and family-based child care facilities in the City and County of San Francisco and Alameda County. The program administers various grant programs differentiated by setting type and has invested approximately $15 million annually through a combination of City General Funds, City Public Education Enrichment Funds, State CalWORKs funds, and funding from the Child Care Developer Fee, programmed as the Child Care Capital Fund, and neighborhood area plan child care development impact fees. In 2022, the program requested a new grant agreement for 2022 to 2024 in the amount of $83,151,138 from county funds (98% of funding), state funds (0.7% of funding), and federal funds (1.3% of funding).

Center-based providers are eligible for a Pre-Development Grant Program, Renovation and Repair Grant Program, and Capital New Development Grant Program. Pre-development grants up to $20,000 per facility are awarded for planning and pre-development costs such as feasibility studies, business plan development, permits, architectural services and related costs, as well as consultant(s) to assist with physical development and licensing. The Renovation and Repair program awards grants of up to $100,000 per facility. Capital New Development grants of up to $200,000 may be used for planning and pre-development costs; building purchases; construction costs, renovation costs, or equipment purchases that increase or maintain the number of child care slots; consultant(s) to assist with the physical development and licensing of the facility; equipment purchases; and quality improvements on a case-by-case basis.

Family child care providers are eligible for two grant programs: Expansion Grants and Renovation and Repair Grants. Expansion Grants support providers expanding from a small family child care business (serving 6-8 children) to a larger one (serving 12-14 children). Grants of up to $15,000 per facility may be used for facility improvements, construction and renovation associated with licensing and fire code requirements for a large family child care facility, and the purchase of materials and equipment. Renovation grants of up to $10,000 per facility are available for family care providers to cover one-time costs associated with health, safety, and accessibility improvements.

Learn more about the child care facilities fund

Source: LIIF. (n.d.). Child care facilities fund.

Program for Infant/Toddler Care Workforce Professional Learning

Includes training, coaching, and mentoring

California offers various professional development resources provided by the Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) to train professionals in the childcare field, including the Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC), which leads institutes for child care professionals on topics such as social-emotional development, quality group care, cognitive and language development, and cultural and family issues. The PITC program offers subsidized on-site training, mentoring and coaching to eligible child care programs in California. Through these programs, care providers, teachers, program directors and home visitors can access interactive training services and events, technical assistance, and coaching. Companion CDE resources are also available to in-home and family child care providers, infant/toddler care teachers, program directors and home visitors. There is also an Academy for Family Child Care (FCC), which includes a six-session virtual training on the unique assets and challenges of FCC and specialized training to support infant/toddler care.

Learn More: California Early Learning and Care Division Professional Development Training


California Department of Education. (n.d.). Professional Development Training.

Program for Infant Toddler Care. (n.d.).

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Demographics Link copied!

State population

39,029,342 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

5.8% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

94.2% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

2,217,145 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

35% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$93,600.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

4.1% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

6% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

65% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

40% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

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Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (.5%)
  • Asian (13%)
  • Black or African American (5%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (52%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (.5%)
  • Two or More Races (5%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (24%)
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Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

California State Preschool Programs (CSPP) expanding to UPK and phasing in implementation of universal transitional kindergarten (UTK). Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Transitioning from Targeted to Universal Pre-K Policy (4-year-olds) Source: NIEER 2023

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Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (7%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (8%)
  • Other/none (85%)
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Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (31%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (7%)
  • Other/none (62%)
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Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
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Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($1300.0)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($829.4)
  • CCDBG State Match ($157.2)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($5100.0)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($2000.0)
  • MIECHV ($19.0)
  • IDEA Part C ($79.2)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($79.2)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($763.0)
  • Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five ($17.4)
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Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 80,000 children in California.