What is the ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative?

San Francisco voters approved Proposition C in June 2018. It established a gross receipts tax that would provide additional City funding to support early care and education (ECE) for 0-5 year-olds. Approximately half of the revenue generated by Prop C is dedicated to providing much-deserved compensation increases for early educators working in Early Learning San Francisco (ELS) centers and Family Child Care (FCC) programs.

The ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative is a focused strategy emerging from the newly formed Department of Early Childhood dedicated to supporting the city’s children, families, and early educators. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to produce improved outcomes for San Francisco’s children and families, by providing additional compensation to support a well-educated, well-compensated, and stable workforce. DEC is fully committed to providing resources to programs and individuals that reward ECE staff for increased educational attainment, experience, and additional qualifications/skills.

Over the next year, we will address Workforce Compensation, Workforce Development and Educational Pathways, and Workplace Conditions in a phased approach.

This ongoing initiative, with no sunset date, provides sustained compensation supports.

Phase I includes two types of funding to increase educator wages:

  1. CARES 3.0 (Compensation and Retention Educator Stipends): Similar to previous versions of the CARES program, DEC will distribute CARES 3.0 stipends directly to eligible teachers. Applications for the first round will be available in October 2022 for those educators in programs identified to receive CARES 3.0.
  2. Early Educator Salary Support Grant: DEC will provide a grant to the early care and education agency. Agency administrators, working in collaboration with their teachers and DEC, will administer grant funding to increase eligible educators’ salaries.

The funding type teachers receive is based on the program type they are working in and the percentage of subsidy-eligible children being served.

There are three tiers:

  • Orange Tier – centers and FCCs serving up to 19% of subsidy-eligible children
  • Blue Tier – centers and FCCs serving up between 20-49% of subsidy-eligible children
  • Green Tier – centers and FCCs serving up 50% and above of subsidy-eligible children

FCC educators in all tiers will be eligible to apply for a CARES 3.0 stipend. Teachers working in Orange and Blue Tier Centers will be eligible to apply for a CARES 3.0 stipend. Teachers working in Green Tier Centers will receive an ongoing wage increase in their paycheck directly from their employer.

Who is Eligible?

All Early Learning San Francisco (ELS) Centers and Family Child Care programs are eligible to receive support through the ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative.

Phase I of the compensation initiative will be prioritized to support early educators working directly with children, and who participate in the California ECE Workforce Registry.

Phase II is offered to those Green Tier programs with at least 50% of subsidy-eligible children being served. In these centers and FCCs, DEC will provide additional funding to support those non-teaching staff who primarily work indirectly to support children’s development, e.g., professional development, family engagement, supervision of early educators, etc.


How Much Will Educators Receive?

All eligible educators will receive a wage increase. Funding amounts are based on a combination of the number of subsidy eligible children being served in the ELS program, position/title, responsibilities, education (degree and/or ECE units and/or teaching permit), and whether full-time or part-time.

When Will My Program Receive ECE Workforce Compensation Funding?


If your program receives compensation support via CARES 3.0, eligible teaching staff will apply directly to DEC in October 2022 and receive their first stipend by the end of the year.

Early Educator Salary Support Grant

If your program receives compensation support via the Early Educator Salary Support Grant the program will enter into a grant agreement with DEC based on the educational qualifications of eligible teaching staff working at least 20 hours in the classroom.The initial grant period is July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, and programs will implement the compensation increases starting October 1, 2022.

*Funding for this initiative is subject to availability, verifiable enrollment data and educational attainment documentation.

Next Steps

Educators must have their transcripts uploaded to their California ECE Workforce Registry account and verified by the California ECE Workforce Registry. Degrees related to early education and ECE units will be considered when determining funding amounts for each educator. All center teachers and FCC educators in ELS programs should now be updating their profile on the Registry.

For all educators eligible for DEC compensation support through either a stipend or an Early Educator Salary Support Grant to the center they are employed in:

  • Upload any documents (degree transcripts, ECE transcripts, and permit information) that are not currently verified by the Registry (making sure that the Registry verifies all self-reported information)
  • Review employment information to ensure that title/position, wage, and hours per week are all up to date

For administrators of Green Tier centers receiving the Early Educator Salary Support Grant:

  • Confirm that at least one administrative staff member has employer administrative access on the Registry
  • Review staff report to confirm what information has been verified for each staff member (degree, ECE units, permit level, etc.)
  • Review staff employment information and update if needed staff including:
  • Title/position
  • Wage information
  • Hours worked per week
  • Employment verified

Unofficial transcripts are accepted.

For more information about uploading transcripts to the California ECE Workforce registry please click the link below. 

What is the Plan for Future Phases of the Initiative?

For those programs/agencies serving over 50% subsidized enrollment, Phase II of the ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative will focus on compensating non-classroom teaching ECE staff and/or benefits. Phase III will support the improvement of Workplace Conditions. Finally, Phase IV will focus on the development of workforce pathways to degree attainment and professional development.

Resources & Support

For more information on the CARES 3.0 stipend and application process, please visit the CARES 3.0 webpage.

For more information on the Early Educator Salary Support Grant, click the links below: