San Francisco CARES Program
This report on the implementation of San Francisco County’s CARES program (SF CARES) provides guidance and lessons for policymakers, program administrators, childcare advocates and others who are planning similar initiatives to improve retention. To conduct the study, PACE held a series of focus groups to collect responses from program planners, stipend recipients, and other members of the childcare community. Feedback was gathered on aspects of the entire planning and implementation process, such as the key players involved in the program’s launch; the decisions about who would be eligible for stipend awards; the agency that ran the program; and the appeals process. Despite an abbreviated timeline and limited staff, SF CARES successfully distributed over 400 stipends in the program’s first year. But challenges also remain, including reaching a broader array of childcare providers and communicating the program goals to applicants and the general public alike.