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.

UCSF’s Graduate Division offers childcare grants for eligible PhD and DPTSc students.


 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. Children are eligible for TK in a particular school year if they will turn 5 years old between September 2 and December 2 (inclusive) of that school year.

    – 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 January. Applications must be submitted in person by the child's parent/legal guardian. For details on other application requirements, visit the SFUSD How to Apply page.

    – Please contact the SFUSD Education 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.


The following programs have income and other requirements; there are generally wait lists.

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 enabling eligible families to apply to multiple child care subsidies with one application.

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.