Santa Monica Child Care Facilities



Thinking strategically about child care and preschool programs when making land use decisions and creating economic development plans can provide a big boost to early learning opportunities. In Santa Monica, a city ordinance requires developers to either support construction of a child care facility or pay a per square footage allotment based on type of building they have which goes into a fund for current and future child care centers. The city, business leaders, and developers came together to learn about the processes and requirements for the City to enter into a Development Agreement. The City Council comes together annually to review each approved Development Agreement to determine good faith compliance with the terms and conditions of the Agreements. Each Development Agreement contains unique time frames, obligations, and requirements. The Early Childhood focused agreements has exempted large family child care and child care homes from costly planning fees. In addition, the city has a policy to protect the existing child care spaces resources and specialized staff in the Human Services Division and the Planning Department to address child care planning issues These negotiated agreements have helped the city create a new facility on or off site of that particular development, donate land or funds for land or property acquisition, support child care financially on a limited or ongoing basis and support ongoing operation of early childhood programs.

The Strategy

City Council, business leaders, the school district; local nonprofits; RAND; local hospitals; and the community college

City's Role
The city created the city ordinance and manages the development agreements as well as the fund itself.

This linkage fee has raised nearly a million dollars from multiple projects to fund new and existing early childhood programs.


Many projects have led to large contributions to the funds and new child care facilities built with the community in mind. Viacom, for example, included a child care center in their project. Their main audience for the center included those working at the facility itself. The Colorado Center included a child care center as well as a park and affordable housing. Water Garden included a center for 54 children in the community. The Arboretum's project included a contribution of $250,000 to the fund. The RAND Corporation truly embraced the linkage fee and contributed not only a half million dollars to the fund, but committed to a policy analysis partnership and a child policy website as part of their contribution.

Contact Information

Institute for Youth, Education, and Families

Primary Contact: Natasha Kingscoat
1685 Main Street, Room 212
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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