50 Years of Children’s Council

Throughout our history, San Francisco women have led the way in catalyzing social change. The feminist movement in the ‘60s led to women, including many single mothers, going into the workforce in droves. And they needed child care.

In the early 1970s, Patty Siegel and a collective of young moms, including later executive director Martha Roditti, gathered in Noe Valley to form the San Francisco Child Care Switchboard. The seed that would become Children’s Council of San Francisco in 1974 was planted.

The next thirty years were a time of huge growth and great change for the child care movement in America, and Children’s Council was at the forefront, becoming one of the country’s first Child Care Resource & Referral organizations.

In 1996, Children’s Council launched one of the first parent-led grassroots advocacy and training organizations: Parent Voices, giving families the opportunity to make their voices heard at the local, state and national level.

By the dawn of the 21st Century, Children’s Council’s staff had quadrupled in size. In 2001, nearly 100 staff members moved into our current home at 445 Church Street.

Today, Children’s Council is a vibrant, welcoming hub, not just for parents who need help with child care, but where families and educators can gather, learn, and build a supportive community. Our commitment to our city’s diverse communities of families and early educators has never been stronger.

Through our innovative BizNest suite of programs and our Pipeline for Black Early Childhood Educator Career Development, we’ve brought more than 1,000 child care educators into the profession since 2019, ensuring that all San Francisco families have access to quality, affordable child care that meets their needs, now and for years to come.

From our humble beginnings in Patty Siegel’s garage. During times of social and political unrest. And through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic. Time and time again, Children’s Council has risen to the occasion. But we didn’t do it alone.

We’re deeply grateful to our family of supporters – from countless volunteers and board members to our community partners and donors.

It’s because of you that Children’s Council has been here our city’s children, families and early educators for 50 years. Join us as we celebrate our legacy and move boldly forward to an even brighter future.