Friend of St. Francis Childcare Center was founded in 1976 by St. Francis Lutheran Church, residents of Duboce Triangle and Friends Outside. The facility at 50 Belcher Street has been provided since its inception by St. Francis Church whose generosity has enabled the Center to provide high quality early childhood education and care for families from diverse economic backgrounds. At the Center's inception and for seven years, priority was given to families referred by Friends Outside so that ex offenders parents could return to the workforce.
Over the years changes have included increasing and upgrading the Center's 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 focuses on nurturing the habitat in the outdoor area, promoting social-emotional well being, facilitating literacy and kindergarten success programming.
In the early 80's the center joined forces with the Parent Services Project, Inc., strengthening the interface and collaboration 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 since 1994. Intergenerational programming has become a critical part of the center’s offering – FOSF enjoys the support of senior volunteers and interns 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.