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Parks and Recreation | Human Interest

San Diego Selected to Participate in National Early Learning Initiative

Office of Child and Youth Success Executive Director at the podium, in front of a group of youth advocates

The City of San Diego is one of nine cities nationwide selected to join the Early Learning Nation Capacity Building Initiative led by the National League of Cities. This 17-month initiative will provide the City’s Office of Child and Youth Success (OCYS) with in-depth support and guidance from subject matter experts to advance efforts on its early learning and child care objectives covered in the draft Child and Youth Plan.

The Child and Youth Plan is a first of its kind for the City that was developed over months of community outreach and engagement, including public meetings in every Council district. It aims to create equitable cross-generational solutions and address the lack of investment that exists in child and youth support systems, as well as support the strategies identified in the City’s Strategic Plan.

“Challenges facing our community include access to quality child care services and equitable early learning.” said Andrea O’Hara, Executive Director of the Office of Child and Youth Success. "By securing National League of Cities’ support, our office will be able to expand access to resources and high-quality programs for children and families in San Diego.”

Through the Early Learning Nation Capacity Building Initiative, the OCYS will benefit from staff support and coaching to further its work on developing operational and fiscal strategies supporting early learning and child care objectives identified in the draft Child and Youth Plan. Those include: 

  • Alignment with the City's Economic Development Strategy to support families and workers by strengthening child care systems.
  • Implementation of the strategies and actions of the San Diego County Child Care Blueprint that reference the City of San Diego and/or OCYS.
  • Partnership with Parks and Recreation Department to implement Measure H that would allow licensed child care programs to operate on existing City of San Diego Park and Recreation facilities, potentially serving infant, toddler, pre-K or school-aged (under 12) children.

Efforts will be supported by the City’s Economic Development Department, Parks and Recreation Department and two Employ and Empower interns enrolled in early education courses and seeking a career in early education or child development. Support will also come from the San Diego County Office of Education, YMCA Childcare Resource Service, Child Development Associates and community partners and stakeholders including Children First Collective members, early learning providers and child care providers. 

Through this initiative, staff from the Office of Child and Youth Success will also have opportunities to connect and learn from peer cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Charleston, Grand Rapids, Houston and Knoxville. The program runs through June 2025 and is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria established the Office of Child and Youth Success in 2022 to address issues pertaining to the City’s children, youth and families and ensure access to equitable resources, services and high-quality programs.