What is the ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative?

The ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative is the latest Department of Early Childhood (DEC) strategy 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.

Phase 1 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 the teachers in your program will receive is based on program type and the percentage of subsidy-eligible children being served. In order to determine your program’s eligibility and which of the two funding types your program will receive, you must complete an Request for Applications (RFA).

Please read carefully through all of the information on this page and then complete an online application (linked below). Applications are due May 31, 2022.

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 but funding will be limited to teaching staff working directly with children for a minimum of 20 hours a week and who participate in the CA ECE Workforce Registry.


How Much Will My Program Receive?

All eligible teachers 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, the educational qualifications of eligible teaching staff, and classroom role. Therefore, the first step in distributing ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative funding is to collect more information on the factors that will inform the amount and type of compensation funding your program and teachers receive.

When Will My Program Receive ECE Workforce Compensation Funding?

The RFA application linked below will determine if your program is eligible for CARES 3.0 stipends or an Early Educator Salary Support Grant.


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

Early Educator Salary Support Grant

If the application determines that your program will receive compensation support via an Early Educator Salary Support Grant, your program will receive a grant based on the educational qualifications of eligible teaching staff working at least 20 hours in the classroom. You will be directed to complete a spreadsheet detailing eligible staff to calculate the ‘up to’ grant amount your program will receive. The initial grant period will be July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.

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

Application Resources

OECE and First 5 SF hosted webinars in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin to explain the requirements and application process for the ECE Workforce Compensation Initiative. Below you can find links to webinar recordings and slide presentations.

If you have already completed your application and your program qualified for an Early Educator Salary Support Grant, you are required to fill out a supplemental form to detail your staff’s current level of education and wages. You can find the Staff Education and Wage Form linked below.

Staff Wage and Education Form

Questions & Support

If you have questions or need support to complete your application please reach out to the following points of contact:

For center-based application and information:

Graham Dobson

For Family Child Care

English: Denise Corvino,

Spanish: Jenn Martinez,

Chinese: Susan Lu,