Child Care Affordability Resources

This webpage aims to provide child care affordability and financial assistance resources that may be useful to the UCSF community. Please contact the programs directly to get more information and to inquire about enrollment and availability. Family Services does not recommend or endorse any particular resource on this webpage; however, we do endorse the careful review and evaluation of services that best meet the needs of your family.


DepCare FSA (Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account) allows eligible UC employees to set aside pretax money, from their paycheck, for dependent care expenses.

Child care reimbursement programs are available to Academic Student Employees (ASEs), Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) and non-represented PhD students.

• There's also a child care reimbursement program for postdoctoral scholars.


 San Francisco’s Preschool for All (PFA) program provides tuition credit for 4-year-old San Francisco residents, regardless of family income, at participating licensed preschool programs.

California’s public school districts offer a free Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program. Enrollment is not mandatory. In the past, children were eligible for TK in a particular school year if they turned 5 years old between September 2 and December 2 (inclusive) of that year. For the 2022-2023 academic year, however, California began implementing its universal transitional kindergarten program by making TK available to children turning 5 years old between September 2, 2022 and February 2, 2023 (inclusive). The state will continue to expand TK age eligibility, by a few months each year, up to the 2025-2026 school year, at which point all 4 year olds will qualify for Transitional Kindergarten. Learn more about the TK eligibility expansion.

TK enrollment is part of the K-12th grade enrollment system. In the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), the main application season for the upcoming school year usually runs from mid/late October to early February. Families currently have the option of submitting their application online. Visit Apply for SFUSD Schools to learn about the application process and requirements.

Please contact the SFUSD Educational Placement Center (, 415-241-6085) for information on the TK application procedure for those who did not or could not apply during the main application season.


Use the Children's Council of S. F.'s Child Care Financial Assistance Eligibility Calculator to determine what types of subsidies you might qualify for.

• The following two programs have income and other requirements; there are generally wait pools.

The San Francisco Unified School District’s Early Education Department operates over thirty Early Education Schools across the city. The majority of the sites only serve children 2.9/3 years of age or older. While many of the centers have just subsidized spots, a few sites do offer a limited number of tuition-based (full-fee) – albeit still relatively affordable – spaces for subsidy-ineligible families. Although availability may vary by location, the Early Education Schools usually have wait lists.

Early Learning SF is a web-based system through which families may apply for child care subsidies. Applicants must meet income and other requirements. Learn more about subsidies at the S. F. Department of Early Childhood.

If you live outside San Francisco and would like information on child care subsidies in your community, please contact your local child care resource and referral agency.