Affordable childcare crawls toward SF ballot

San Francisco officials have said for a number of years they want to prevent families from leaving The City, and two supervisors plan to do so through a ballot measure to make childcare more affordable for residents.

Supervisor Jane Kim on Tuesday asked The City’s Controller’s Office to analyze the costs and benefits of providing San Francisco residents universal affordable childcare. Kim plans to put forth a proposal for a ballot measure next year allowing voters to decide.

Kim said childcare costs for families are now just as much as college tuition. The idea of affordable childcare builds off of Kim’s victory on providing free tuition for San Francisco residents attending City College of San Francisco this fall and next spring.

According to the Children’s Council of San Francisco, annual costs for an infant at a childcare center averages $22,800, and $18,000 for a four-year-old.

The average annual cost of a full-time nanny for one child is $39,490.

Kim said:

“If we truly believe families are the backbone of our city, then we all have to do what we can to hold on to them, and make The City a truly, family, friendly city.”

Kim said the U.S. had once helped pay for childcare for parents during World War II through the Lanham Act from 1943 to 1946. Parents paid $9 to $10 for childcare in today’s dollars.

Supervisor Norman Yee, who is joining Kim in the effort, said The City already has a preschool for all program, but said the program fell short for The City:

“I am so happy now we can join forces with Supervisor Kim and to really look at this in a much more serious matter in regards to where we get the resources and what we really need to make this complete.”

Kim said she is closely looking at Alameda County, which is also working on a childcare ballot measure to place before voters next year.