Mayor London N. Breed, Mission Kids, and community partners today announced the completion of a new child care center in San Francisco’s Mission District. The new preschool, located at 969 Treat Avenue, will enable Mission Kids to double their enrollment to serve 100 families and makes quality early childhood education more accessible for families of all income levels in the Mission and surrounding neighborhoods. This facility advances San Francisco’s broader efforts to close the early education gap for San Francisco’s youngest children and supports San Francisco’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“High quality, safe early care and education helps young people and their families succeed and thrive, and it should be available to everyone in San Francisco, regardless of where they live or their income,” said Mayor Breed. “It’s too hard to find child care in this city and we have to do more to support working families, especially as we get on the road to recovery. That’s why we’re investing in facilities across the City, so that every family has a convenient and welcoming place to access child care and other important family services.”
Ensuring early care and education options remain available and accessible throughout San Francisco is essential for making sure all young people are ready for Kindergarten and success in school. In 2019, San Francisco’s Office of Early Care and Education found that 40% of Black and Latino students were not ready for Kindergarten, demonstrating the need for continued investments in improving outcomes for students from historically disadvantaged communities.
Mission Kids serves predominately low- to moderate-income families in San Francisco and provides bilingual early care and education in Spanish and English. More than 75% of the enrolled families receive tuition subsidies. Forty percent of Mission Kids families identify as Hispanic/Latino, 15% as Asian American/Pacific Islander, and 15% as African-American/Black, and Mission Kids serves families experiencing immigration issues, homelessness, and housing insecurity. In addition to improving outcomes for young people, the availability of child care options, like the new Mission Kids preschool, will be essential for families as San Francisco recovers and more parents and guardians participate in and return to the workforce.
The construction and start-up costs for the Mission Kids preschool was funded with $2.5 million from the City’s Child Care Facilities Fund, in collaboration with the Office of Early Care and Education and the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF). In addition to the Child Care Facilities Fund, OECE and LIIF committed another $2.4 million in New Markets Tax Credits. Through the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, OEWD and Community Vision awarded $675,000 in early-stage funding and technical assistance for the project. Lastly, MOHCD committed $450,000 through San Francisco’s Complete Neighborhoods Program to support the $9.95 million project.
The Mission Kids preschool is one of more than 30 facilities whose capital costs will be covered by the City’s Child Care Facilities Fund in the coming years. The Fund was created to retain and increase licensed child care facilities in high-needs neighborhoods, and is funded by Child Care Developer Fees, which are collected from new construction projects in the city.
The Fund is a flexible model to administer grants and loans to construct, rehabilitate and purchase child care facilities, specifically in high-needs neighborhoods. Funding is prioritized for facilities that are located in residential developments funded the by City, such as HOPE SF housing and affordable housing developments, and facilities that serve low- to moderate-income families, families who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness, or families who are enrolled in public assistance programs. The Office of Early Care and Education (OECE) administers the awards from the Fund.
In addition to the City funding and support of LIIF, the new Mission Kids facility was made possible with funding from Community Vision Capital and Consulting (CVCC). The following organizations have supported this project: First 5 of San Francisco, Mission Economic Development Agency, Calle 24 (Latino Cultural District), Mission Greenway, Friends of Parque Niños Unidos, and Dolores Street Community Services.
“The learning and opportunity gaps that we continue to see in our public schools today have deep roots in the unequal access to high quality early care and education programs, especially among our families of color,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “Child care programs like the Mission Kids preschool are a critical lifeline that not only prepare our youngest learners to succeed once they enroll in public schools, they also enable parents and caregivers to have the capacity to pursue educational and employment opportunities to help advance their family’s overall wellbeing. By investing in essential early care programs like this exciting new Mission Kids facility, we are signaling to the working families of the Mission and throughout San Francisco that we are committed to their long-term stability and success.”
“We are so excited to be moving Mission Kids into a Forever Home at 969 Treat, especially since this means we’ll eventually be able to serve twice as many families and stay true to our deep roots in the Mission District,” said Heather Lubeck and Christina Maluenda Marchiel of Mission Kids. “Our new facility, specifically designed for young children and built from the ground up, is a reflection of our city partners valuing, prioritizing and investing in children and families. After facing displacement from our previous facility, we are thrilled to now have a permanent home to provide this essential service to the children and families of San Francisco for generations to come.”
"This past year we learned to work from home, to make up childcare as we went along, and to live inside the fear and sadness of a pandemic. Starting our daughter at Mission Kids in March of 2021, at a new building that signaled a brighter future and inside of the caring, openness and warmth of the community of parents, teachers and kids has offered a small glimpse of what kind of city we might hope to build for our family and others,” said current Mission Kids parent, Caleb Zigas. “It is no small feat to open something new at a time like this and we are so grateful to be a part of it.”
City Support for Child Care Providers during COVID-19
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco has supported child care providers with funding from the City’s Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and with a new program to promote the economic recovery of child care providers.
In January 2021, Mayor Breed announced $25 million in financial assistance for San Francisco’s early care and education programs, which care for approximately 10,000 children across the city. The Early Education Economic Recovery Program was created with funding from revenue unlocked by Proposition F. All licensed child care or license-exempt co-operative early care programs providing services to children age birth to six in San Francisco are encouraged to apply on the San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education’s (OECE) website: sfoece.org/covid-19/early-education-recovery-program/.
In June 2020, Mayor Breed, along with then Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee and Supervisor Ahsha Safai, announced $1 million to support up to 150 family child care educators experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. These family child care educators are a vital resource for families, particularly in communities with a high need for early care and education but with limited child care resources.
About Mission Kids
Initially conceived as a family child care program and later housed in a shared space with a church and homeless shelter on neighboring South Van Ness Avenue, Mission Kids has cared for marginalized children of San Francisco’s Mission District for more than a decade.
Mission Kids fosters empathy, respect and love of learning with its commitment to bilingual, play-based learning. As a co-operative, all families have a job in the school and participate in its daily operations. Mission Kids has consistently received the highest possible quality rating standards in the annual evaluation by the Office of Early Care and Education.