Amourence Lee · LIKE IT IS with MAYOR LEE
top of page
  • Writer's pictureCouncilwoman Lee

#BREAKING: Broad Coalition Support Child Care




One of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors’ most successful initiatives to support working families and children during COVID-19 has been the Child Care Relief Fund, which provides programs adversely impacted by the pandemic with one month of operating expenses (up to $55,000 for child care centers and $10,000 for family child care homes). Since its inception this fall, the county has allocated $4.5M in CARES Act funds to the Child Care Relief Fund. In addition, a broad spectrum of donors has contributed over $500,000 to the fund, including tech companies Google and Facebook; foundations Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, San Bruno Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation of San Carlos; the cities of San Mateo (which recently directed $300,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds to the initiative) and San Carlos; utility company Calwater; and New Community Church based in Menlo Park.

Through the Child Care Relief Fund, San Mateo County’s leaders have communicated their message loud and clear: child care is essential. According to San Mateo City Councilwoman Amourence Lee, "Local and regional government, private companies, donors, and also our faith communities are all pulling together to invest in child care. The Child Care Relief Fund is an exceptional example of multi-sector collaboration and what's possible when we are all pulling the rope in the same direction." And Emily Roberts, Board President of San Bruno Community Foundation, noted, "Without child care, parents can’t go to work. Bolstering the child care sector is vital for our economy to thrive and for children to succeed in school and in life."

This effort was spearheaded by City Councilmemembers Amourence Lee (San Mateo) and Giselle Hale (Redwood City) in partnership with Board Supervisors Dave Pine and Carole Groom alongside Community Equity Collaborative, Build Up for San Mateo County’s Children, 4Cs of San Mateo County, First 5 San Mateo County, the San Mateo County Office of Education (including the San Mateo County Child Care Partnership Council), and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

To date, the fund has provided grants to 287 child care programs (79 centers and 208 family child care home providers) serving over 8,000 of the county’s most vulnerable children ages 0 to 12 (of which approximately 26% are school-aged). Through its design and administration, the Fund elevated equity, access and inclusion, providing communications in multiple languages, technical support for Spanish speakers, and a simple, streamlined application that removed participation barriers that can hinder small-business owners, especially women of color and immigrants, who make up the majority of the child care workforce.

The need is still great, with the projected closure of up to 50% of child care providers nationwide. Locally, this would mean the loss of 44,000 child care spaces in San Mateo County alone. Paired with the increased need for care of children ages 5 to 12 during school hours (resulting from distance learning and hybrid school schedules), the pandemic has caused demand for child care to explode while the supply shrinks. "In the first round of funding, we received nearly $7 million in funding requests from 341 eligible child care providers in San Mateo County,” said Board Supervisor Carole Groom. “Without additional support, we run the risk of losing child care options in the long-term for working families already strained by this pandemic." This is especially true for working mothers and people of color. According to the National Women’s Law Center, over two million American women have left the workforce since March. In addition, a recent survey by LeanIn showed that 52% of American parents of color anticipate a disruption to their career advancement due to COVID-19.

Pointing to decades of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of high-quality learning and care in building strong economies, interrupting intergenerational cycles of poverty, empowering women and working families and improving academic and health outcomes, champions of the Child Care Relief Fund will continue pushing for significant long-term investment in this industry. As Board Supervisor Dave Pine notes, "Access to quality and reliable child care is a lynchpin to our economy.” The time is now to step up and support the child care community as it has supported us over the years.

To donate to the Child Care Relief Fund, contact Dayna Chung at or visit:


bottom of page