Mayor London Breed Releases Citywide Children and Family Recovery Plan
Multi-year plan builds on existing COVID-19 recovery approaches to help support San Francisco’s children, youth, and families
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today released her Children and Family Recovery Plan, a Citywide strategy for COVID-19 recovery for San Francisco’s children, youth, and families. The Plan coordinates resources from across the City, amplifies community voices, advances advocacy efforts, and creates a roadmap of strategies to be implemented over a three-to-five-year span that will support San Francisco’s children, youth, and families as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locally and nationally during this pandemic, children, young people, and their families have experienced isolation, grief, trauma, financial and housing instability, learning loss, increased anxiety and depression, and delays in social and emotional mastery. In May of 2021, Mayor Breed directed the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to lead the citywide development of the Children and Family Recovery Plan, tapping Abigail Stewart-Kahn to join DCYF as Special Advisor for Children and Family Recovery. The Plan outlines recommendations to address the issues listed above in eleven key categories:
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Unfinished Learning
- New and Expanded Learning
- Concrete and Material Needs
- Recovery from Racial Injustice
- Family Support
- Safety and Healing
- Access and Navigation
- System Change and System Creation
The recommended key categories include initiatives that build on a plethora of existing recovery approaches to support families, such as Muni Ambassadors, the Women and Families First Initiative, and the Abundant Birth Program. Mayor Breed is dedicated to advancing the recommendations in the Plan and will seek to prioritize the recommendations in her upcoming budget. The entire plan can be found at https://www.dcyf.org/recovery.
“San Francisco has been a leader in taking collaborative and creative steps to protect its residents from COVID-19, and we will continue to do the same in supporting children and families, who we know have suffered and are continuing to struggle,” said Mayor Breed. “This Recovery Plan was driven by the voices of children and families and represents a shared vision for what our kids need from us to heal and thrive. This is going to take all of us working together, with an urgency that reflects the level of crisis and need, over many years to implement this plan and support the long-term recovery of our children and families.”
During the pandemic, understanding the level of strain and crisis for families, City departments and community organizations rallied together to support our families with the highest needs through emergency initiatives such as the Community Hubs, which served over 2,500 students across 78 sites. At the Community Hubs, children received in-person support with distance learning and out of school time activities along with healthy meals and snacks. They had opportunities to safely engage in physical activity, art, drama, peer interaction, and play. These emergency measures and many other efforts detailed in the plan served as an example of what San Francisco is capable of doing for families, and this Children and Family Recovery Plan builds on that experience to provide a roadmap for much broader and deeper long-term change.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives in significant ways, we are crystal clear that its short and long-term impacts have not been experienced equally across our community. Rather, this pandemic has laid bare pre-existing racial and socio-economic inequities,” shared Dr. Maria Su, DCYF Executive Director. “San Franciscans from every sector are committed to supporting our children, youth and families to recover and thrive as we move through and out of this pandemic.”
“Talking to our kids, young people, caregivers, service and community leaders to develop the Plan has been a deep honor,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Special Advisor for Children and Family Recovery. “Thank you, Mayor Breed along with the Board of Supervisors, City departments, community leaders, the Children and Family Recovery Plan Task Force, and the DCYF team for bringing all their hope, urgency, collaboration, analysis, and creativity to this process. We are excited to work with anyone who will join us in advancing these approaches to kids and families.”
Community voices were central to the formation of the Plan, with thousands of youth and caregivers sharing their stories through surveys, focus groups, and interviews. An 18-member Task Force, composed of a diverse group of stakeholders helped guide and align the process and provide recommendations to be implemented across the City.
“I’ve watched the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic particularly on my younger siblings, peers, and San Francisco youth… I know there is a long road to recovery for our generation, but I feel really hopeful that youth voice in this planning process is the beginning of a more collective and collaborative approach to help kids and families,” said Adrianna Zhang, a young resident and Task Force member. “I firmly believe that when young people are invited to rise up and are included in the decision-making process, amazing things will happen.”
“It was imperative that voices of SF’s youth, families, and community-based organization partners were captured and elevated during the recovery plan process to ensure the programs, policies, and resources address the needs they, themselves, have identified,” said Carol Hill, San Francisco Beacon Initiative Executive Director and Task Force member. “What we saw in our Task Force was that community members, youth and parents are intelligent, resourceful and creative and should be at the helm of determining what is the best path forward for our city.”
“Youth and their families are an often-overlooked unit that requires multifaceted networks of support. This COVID-19 pandemic continues to fracture families and communities across San Francisco and we must take a systematic approach to unpacking these issues,” said Arsema Asfaw, a young resident and Task Force member. “I believe this planning approach, which includes voices from a wide range of community members, coupled with the inclusion of youth is the most helpful approach when thinking about healing San Francisco as a community. In the future, I hope that we take these similarly oriented approaches to deal with more of our city’s issues.”
“As a parent, almost everyone I know is exhausted. What we have gone through with our kids, and what we continue to go through as this situation continues to evolve, affected us all differently and for many families this time of uncertainty has strained their financial and emotional resources to the breaking point, and beyond, “said Yvette Byes Edwards, Board Member of the San Francisco Parent Coalition and Task Force member. “Being a part of this plan development, hearing directly from families, children and educators, gave me a lot of hope and a space to raise ideas surrounding what is really needed to put families’ voices first in our community.”
The Tri-Chairs of the Service Provider Working Group Frederique Clement, Madison Holland and Kian Alavi who, with their community-based colleagues worked and continue to work hand in hand with government, philanthropy and other sectors to support kids and families reflected, “COVID-19 was like a gut punch to our San Francisco families, and the non-profits who support them. The Mayor’s Recovery Plan was developed through a community-driven process, informed by a truly diverse cross-section of San Franciscans. It is a strong plan that centers families and services providers to help us repair the damage from the pandemic and improve our public safety-net.”
For more information about the Mayor’s Children and Family Recovery Plan, go to https://www.dcyf.org/recovery.