Mayor London N. Breed and Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee joined South of Market Child Care, Inc. and early care and education advocates to celebrate the completion of a new child care center in the South of Market neighborhood. The Transbay Child Development Center is one of over 30 early care and education centers in high-needs neighborhoods that will be funded through the City’s Child Care Facilities Fund. The opening of the facility comes as Mayor Breed and President Yee announced the launch of San Francisco’s “Child and Youth Friendly City” Initiative. As part of that Initiative, the Our Children Our Families Council and the City will host a Children and Youth Summit in 2020.
“High-quality 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 quality childcare in this city and we have to do more to support working families. That’s why we’re investing in facilities across the City, so that every family has a convenient and welcoming place to access childcare and other important family services.”
“I am thrilled to be part of the opening of this new Child Care Facility and look forward to many more new opportunities to expand access to high quality early care and education for our young families. We are facing a shortage of child care slots citywide and these new facilities will help us meet the growing demand. I am also hopeful that the voter-backed Early Care and Education for All Initiative will be fully implemented so that we can also help subsidize the cost of child care to make it more affordable for families of all incomes in San Francisco,” said President Yee, who was also sponsored legislation in 2016 to expand the child care impact fee to grow the Child Care Facilities Fund to meet a projected shortfall.
The construction and start-up costs for the Transbay Child Development Center was funded with $1.3 million from the City’s Child Care Facilities Fund, in collaboration with the Office of Early Care and Education and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. The childcare center is located in the ground floor of the Mercy Housing Natalie Gubb Commons affordable housing development, which was funded by the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure as part of the Transbay Redevelopment Project Area and was completed in 2018. The Center will be operated by South of Market Child Care (SOMACC).
The Transbay Child Development Center is one of over 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 childcare 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.
The Center is licensed to serve up to 60 children ages 18 months to five years old. At least 50% of enrollment will be low-income families who are in the Early Learning SF database, with priority given to eligible residents in the Mercy Housing Natalie Gubb Commons affordable housing, those who are eligible for Early Learning Scholarship from the OECE, as well as those living in the Transbay Redevelopment Project Area.
The facility includes a toddler classroom and two preschool classrooms; a “piazza,” where the school community can gather; a studio area for children to work on long-term projects; workspaces to encourage individual and group play and learning; and an outdoor play area. Architectural firm Santos Prescott and Associates designed the space.
“San Francisco has prioritized children through its child care facilities funding, and by doing so, we are committing to the single most vital investment we can make in the future of our community,” said Ingrid Mezquita, Director of the Office of Early Care and Education.
“The combination of well-designed affordable housing and vital early education services under the same roof at Natalie Gubb Commons is a model that we at MOHCD are proud to support, and believe will be a pillar of the burgeoning Transbay neighborhood,” said MOHCD Acting Director Dan Adams. “It is especially exciting that the young children growing up in the building and the surrounding community will have priority to attend the brand new Transbay Child Development Center.”
“A child’s early years form the foundation for life,” said Noushin Mofakham, Executive Director, South of Market Child Care, Inc. “At South of Market Child Care, we lay a strong foundation by providing an environment that helps each child flourish.”
The Transbay Child Development Center is the third child development center operated by SOMACC, a nonprofit organization founded in 1970. SOMACC is committed to providing high quality early care and education services and free comprehensive family support to families in the South of Market neighborhood and throughout San Francisco.
“SOMACC has been a godsend to my family. I love my children but I need to work to care for them,” said Oyundari Chultendagva, resident of Natalie Gubb Commons. “Without SOMACC my dreams of returning to work full time would not come true. I have been working part-time because I have nowhere to enroll my younger son. With the school very close to my home and work, now I can work full time and take on a new position with more responsibility. It is such a relief that my two boys can be in a school that helps them learn, meet other people from different cultures and stay safe. Most especially they are happy and I have peace of mind.”
“With funding support for the new South of Market Child Development Center at the Transbay, the Office of Early Care and Education is taking another very important step in supporting children and families in our community with an investment toward high quality care and education for the youngest of our residents,” said Beverly Melugin, Chair of the San Francisco Child Care Planning and Advisory Council, and Director of C5 Children’s School. “The City’s investment in this new child care facility is representative of responsible government that many other communities hope for. It is also a model for other businesses and organizations in San Francisco to find their own ways to support developing the potential of our youngest children. Our entire community will begin benefitting immediately from this important City action.”
On November 20, Mayor Breed and President Yee announced the launch of San Francisco’s “Child and Youth Friendly City Initiative.” As part of a growing global movement, local municipalities around the world are committing to becoming child-friendly cities that center children and youth in decision-making and placemaking. San Francisco will develop a strategic framework and action plan, including concrete policy goals and outcomes that include youth engagement in the process.
In addition to the development of a strategic framework and action plan to guide this initiative, Our Children Our Families Council, in partnership with Mayor Breed and President Yee, will host San Francisco’s Children and Youth Summit in 2020. The Summit will be designed to elevate the voices and needs of children, youth and their families, and will bring City, philanthropy, business and community partners together to highlight and celebrate successful efforts to better serve children, youth and their families in San Francisco. It will also be an opportunity to learn about regional, state and national efforts to address the inequities that our most vulnerable populations experience.