Mayor Breed and President Yee Announce "Child and Youth Friendly Day" Initiative on World Children's Day
San Francisco to host a Children and Youth Summit in 2020 and join a growing global movement in designing a sustainable city that is centered on children and youth
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and President Norman Yee today, on World Children’s Day, announced the launch of San Francisco’s “Child and Youth Friendly City Initiative.” As part of a growing global movement, local municipalities around the world are committing to becoming child-friendly cities that center children and youth in decision-making and placemaking. UNICEF offers a framework for local governments to achieve the “Child Friendly City” designation by ensuring that every child has access to quality social services, education, healthcare, and provides guidance for building safe, secure environments based on child-responsive urban planning and design.
By pledging to become a “Child and Youth Friendly City,” San Francisco will develop a strategic framework and action plan, including concrete policy goals and outcomes that include youth engagement in the process. San Francisco’s Our Children, Our Families Council, a body that is co-chaired by Mayor Breed and Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), Dr. Vincent Matthews, will lead the implementation of the Initiative.
In addition to the development of a strategic framework and action plan to guide this initiative, Our Children Our Families Council, in partnership with Mayor Breed and President Yee, will host San Francisco’s 2020 Children and Youth Summit next year. The Summit will be designed to elevate the voices and needs of children, youth and their families, and will bring City, SFUSD, philanthropy, business and community partners together to highlight and celebrate successful efforts to better serve children, youth and their families in San Francisco. It will also be an opportunity to learn about regional, state and national efforts to address the inequities that our most vulnerable populations experience.
“As we plan for the future of our city and develop policies and programs, we need to make sure we’re taking the needs of San Francisco’s children into account,” said Mayor Breed. “From my experience growing up in public housing in the Western Addition, I know how important it is to have spaces that are designed for kids, and that provide a safe place for young people to gather. Whether that’s the library, playground, or a community center, it’s essential that we design and create spaces with kids in mind and make our entire city safer and more welcoming for youth. It’s especially important that kids from underserved communities know that San Francisco is their city too, and that they can be themselves and access programs and services that are tailored to them.”
“San Francisco has been at the forefront of children and youth issues. While that work has never stopped, we need to force a culture shift. As our city continues to grow, we have to re-imagine who we are building for—not just designing for the next market boom, but for generations of young people who will establish roots and families here,” states President Norman Yee. “I am excited by what’s possible. Becoming a truly Child and Youth Friendly City means safer streets, more interactive spaces for youth to roam, youth participatory planning, and ultimately a universally vibrant city that is designed for everyone.”
“This initiative builds upon Our Children Our Families Council's mission to better coordinate and align systems so that children and their families are at the heart of every policy and decision we make as a city. I’m excited for the opportunity to lead this groundbreaking Initiative that will advance our goals and ensure we create a place that serves our most vulnerable children and youth, putting equity at the center. If we can do better for them, everyone will thrive,” said Dr. Pegah Faed, Director of the Our Children, Our Families Council.
Over the past four years, Our Children Our Families Council has brought together City departments, SFUSD, and community partners to help identify key goals and outcomes to make San Francisco a more livable city for our families, especially those with the most need. These goals include that every child enters kindergarten ready to learn, and that all children and youth are mentally healthy. This new initiative supports those goals and also focuses on the importance of built environment.
World Children’s Day is commemorated each year on November 20th. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Currently, 196 countries have ratified this Convention with the exception of the United States. Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously sponsored and adopted a Resolution to commemorate the occasion and reaffirm San Francisco’s commitment to the Convention of the Rights of Children.
Child-Friendly Cities Initiative
The UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative was launched in 1996 to respond to the challenge of realizing the rights of children in an increasingly urbanized and decentralized world. The initiative works by bringing together local stakeholders and UNICEF to create safe, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities. UNICEF provides a framework, and is one of many models for developing Child-Friendly Cities. https://childfriendlycities.org/