2 min read

Connecting Families to San Francisco’s Innovative New Agency

SF Department of Early Childhood

The Challenge

In 2022, the San Francisco Department of Early Childhood became the first public early childhood agency of its kind, with a new mandate–create a centralized, effective, and equitable early childhood system. Their goal? Partner with all of the adults who care for young children to integrate services for early care and education, healthy development, and family supports. 

When a new, publicly funded organization is created, branding and communications are especially important. Residents, especially families with young children, needed to understand DEC’s mission and services through a strong brand point of view and a decisive, clear, multimedia launch.

How can we quickly raise public awareness? 


The Approach

VIVA approached DEC’s brand development and launch through a multi-pronged multi-media strategy, while leading a parent-centered planning process to develop a longer-term communications and community engagement plan. The impact of our work has included:

  1. Development of the DEC logo and brand identity, a process that involved input from DEC staff and parent stakeholders and resulted in a logo that evokes a classic childhood toy, the tangram, and represents the many pieces of early childhood that fit together to form the whole system.
  2. A new website that serves as a central hub for all of the most important information about the new agency. The new DEC website shares the key messages, permanent resources, and emerging news about early childhood in San Francisco. It is colorful, fresh, fun, and inviting, with a new brand identity, new colors, and clear, high level messaging.

    FireShot Capture 006 - Home - San Francisco Department of Early Childhood - sfdec.org

  3. Targeted digital campaigns, outdoor advertising, and community building events helped get the word out about this new city agency and how it is changing what public childhood services look like. The reach of the initial campaigns was more than 150,000 people.

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  4. To create a parent-driven approach to DEC’s communications and community engagement, we’ve partnered with Parent Voices, a community organization dedicated to centering parent power so that all systems that impact families are just, fair, and inclusive. Together, we’re engaging with families through a variety of channels to develop a plan for meaningful community engagement that will support equitable, sustainable, and effective communications and outreach for DEC.

DEC has a lot to be proud of. In the first 6 months, DEC social media garnered over 1.1 million impressions in San Francisco. We’ve built a strong foundation to continuing to communicate as their services and impact grows.

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Read more about everything coming out of the San Francisco Department of Early Childhood:

  1. https://sf.gov/news/san-francisco-launches-new-department-early-childhood-0 
  2. https://www.kqed.org/news/11929082/wondering-how-to-find-affordable-child-care-or-preschool-in-san-francisco-here-are-some-resources 
  3. https://sfmayor.org/article/mayor-breed-announces-landmark-pay-raise-initiative-early-educators-city-funded-programs
  4. https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/the-city/how-parents-find-affordable-infant-care-in-san-francisco/article_c6116136-5c7c-11ed-8971-5b405583f616.html
  5. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/story/2023-01-29/san-francisco-tax-baby-prop-c-child-care-crisis
  6. https://www.kqed.org/news/11935433/all-work-and-low-pay-the-struggle-of-californias-in-home-child-care-providers
  7. https://sfstandard.com/community/san-francisco-child-care-expensive-early-childhood-families/