San Diego Considers Creating New Position To Improve Childcare Access
San Diego City Council members next week will consider whether to hire a full-time childcare coordinator to update city policies and aid city employees with young children.
The city's Independent Budget Analyst recommended including the new position in the budget for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. It would cost roughly $118,000 and would be "a relatively low-cost item that could potentially benefit many City employees and possibly others in need of child care services," a report from the IBA's office reads.
Rosie Holmes is a single mother who started working as a public information clerk in the Office of the City Treasurer last year. She said finding childcare for her three-year-old daughter, Isabella, was extremely difficult.
"Every break that I took I was making phone calls, every lunch hour was spent and devoted to researching childcare," Holmes said.
San Diego had a childcare coordinator as recently as 2005. The new position's responsibilities would include updating a 21-year-old City Council policy on childcare and generally supporting city employees and residents in finding childcare.
Holmes said it would have been helpful to have a fellow staff member dedicated to helping parents navigate a confusing system in which parents often face high prices and long wait lists for childcare.
"I think that it would definitely take a lot of stress and a lot of anxiety off of city employees," she said.
A report released in April by the City Auditor's Office suggests a link between the availability of childcare and gender pay equity. The report found male city employees tend to earn more than female city employees, and that the pay gap may be attributable to women missing out on higher-paid jobs because of child-rearing responsibilities.
City Councilman Chris Cate, who became a father with the birth of his daughter last summer, said a childcare coordinator would help recruit and retain talented workers — especially women — and improve access to childcare for everyone.
"My vision would be to have this position housed potentially under economic development, because this is an economic development issue, and have that person work with different stakeholders, look at impediments to increasing the supply (of childcare facilities), offer policy recommendations to the city ... to help address the shortage that we have," Cate said.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on a final budget June 10.