YMCA of San Diego County: Elevating Employer Supported Child Care Solutions

Early childhood care and education is essential to the health, development and future success of San Diego children and the regional economy.
Early childhood care and education is essential to the health, development and future success of San Diego children and the regional economy.

YMCA of San Diego County is not new to the intersection of workforce and child care.  

In its over 40 years of service to the San Diego region as the County’s Child Care Resource and Referral, helping parents find the best child care solutions to fit their needs has been a significant piece of YMCA’s work with families. As conversations increase on how to better support working families, what’s becoming more and more apparent is that employers have a vital role to play.  

“Across San Diego, too many working families are struggling to find and afford high-quality child care,” shared Kim McDougal, Executive Director with YMCA Childcare Resource Service.  

The YMCA’s employer-supported child care solutions program aims to partner with employers and ensure they are nurturing the needs of working parents by supporting them with child care solutions.  

“By providing employer-sponsored child care, employers can help families meet this critical need, transform company culture, and offer a competitive benefit that recruits and retains great staff for years to come,” adds Kim. 

This program aligns with The San Diego Foundation’s Strategic Plan priority to build resilient communities, which includes increasing access to quality early care and education for all working families – an essential element to the health, development and future success of San Diego children and the regional economy. 

Employers as Part of the Solution  

“It’s really a journey of understanding what being a family-friendly employer means and how community-based partnership can support the process,” Kim said of the program. With the first cohort of employers planned for 2022, YMCA of San Diego County is hoping to raise awareness about the child care sector as it exists now and underscore the need for employers to play a more active role in providing child care support for working parents. 

The 2020 Workforce + Childcare report emphasizes that we are losing parents from the workforce because they can’t find affordable child care or are settling for low-quality care that isn’t good for the development of their children – our future workforce.  

The report also states that households with children where all parents are working make up 70 percent of San Diego families, and the average price of child care for two young children in the San Diego region consumes 40% percent of the budget for a typical family of four. 

“Finding child care without a baseline of information is extremely challenging for working families,” Kim added. The program will also ensure that employers are working together with parents to understand what quality care means for them, and to find solutions that best fit their unique situations including location of care, cultural humility and hours available. 

Partnering for Innovative Child Care 

Increased early childhood education opportunities for San Diego youth, as well as systems-level change, improve quality of life throughout the region and lead to a stronger economy and more vibrant communities.

The services provided by the YMCA’s program include comprehensive child care planning and assistance paying for care.  

The YMCA is uniquely connected to 3,400 licensed family child care programs and 980 licensed child care centers in San Diego, providing employers with a streamlined referral system that will help parents make the best decision for their families.  

In addition to helping staff apply for state-funded child care payment assistance and create an employer-sponsored child care payment program, the program also offers employers the opportunity to connect with Early Childhood Center – SAY San Diego to explore opening an on-site licensed child care program.  

As part of The San Diego Foundation’s Early Childhood Initiative, SAY San Diego was funded to open their own workplace-based Early Childhood Center to offer accessible, affordable and high-quality child care to its employees and other community members, and are now able to help others do the same. 

SAY San Diego aims to be a springboard for employers looking for practical ways to explore work-based child care for their organization, and will work with employers to design, create and operate high-quality, on-site child care centers to meet staff needs while attaining organizational goals.  

Increasing Employee Commitment and Loyalty 

Kim cited that employers can improve morale, presenteeism and retention when they make a proactive effort to support their employees with child care.  

We know that parents must have child care to work, and quality child care lets parents work dependably with peace of mind. The YMCA’s employer-supported child care solutions program will ensure more family-friendly jobs, a necessary call-to-action for improving the workforce-plus-child care crisis.  

If you’re an employer looking to change the narrative around child care for working families, or are interested in learning more about the program, visit the website

Learn more about The San Diego Foundation’s Early Childhood Initiative and commitment to increase access to affordable, quality early care for children in San Diego, strengthen families and support a competitive regional workforce.