Friends of St. Francis Childcare Center was founded in 1976 to provide quality child-care and support for local families in need. The center was formed by St. Francis Church, residents of Duboce Triangle, and Friends Outside, a social service agency serving ex-offender families with offices on Church Street. Originally it served 34 children in space generously provided by St. Francis Church, free of charge.
In 1982, Sally Large became the director of the center. The center flourished, increasing and upgrading its space and opening a state-of-the-art outdoor play area and a preschool garden classroom, one of the best in the city! At this time the center honed its focus on early literacy and kindergarten success programming. Within a few years the center joined forces with the Parent Services Project, Inc., strengthening the training of staff and parents. Through funding from the Walter Johnson Foundation, the center hired its first Parent Services Coordinator.
Junior League funding allowed the center to increase staff to cover parent conferences, assessments, and professional development, and to engage the services of a psychologist and an occupational therapist. The center has provided mental health services through the Children’s Council since 1994 . Intergenerational programming has become a critical part of the center’s offering – FOSF enjoys the support of elderly helpers from Family Service Agency and Self Help For the Elderly.
Today, the center serves 38 children. Approximately half of the families pay full tuition on a sliding scale while half receive partial to full tuition support through the California Department of Education’s subsidy program.