45 Years of Children's Services

Our History

Wu Yee started off very much as a childcare center and also as an advocacy group, for women and children’s rights.
Play Video about The Founders and Friends of Wu Yee, which has been providing women and children's services for over 45 years.

How it Began - 1970s

Did you know Wu Yee has been around since the 1970’s? The Immigration Act of 1965 allowed immigrants to come into the U.S. in equal numbers and new immigrants to the US could only find employment in ethnic enclaves like Chinatown. Even though both parents had to work, there were no childcare services available.

So parents, teachers, and social workers banded together to create The Association of Children’s Rights and Services in December 1976, soon renamed Wu Yee Children’s Services, meaning “protector of children,” in Cantonese.

1980s Bilingual, Multicultural Education

A “second wave” of refugees were entering the U.S., many from Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries of Southeast Asia. Wu Yee began building coalitions outside of Chinatown.

To respond to the dynamic flux of demographics of both Chinatown and SF, Wu Yee opens centers in ethnically diverse Tenderloin. Bilingual, multicultural curriculum was developed in response to changing demographics to help immigrants prepare for the American school system.

1990s Standing Up for Children’s Needs

During the 1990’s, San Francisco took a critical look at its shortcomings in meeting the diverse needs of the City’s population. Wu Yee led the effort to create the San Francisco Child Care Providers Association (SFCCPA) to increase public support for early child care and education.

Wu Yee Children’s Services emerged as a leading organization to both push the service systems and to fill the outreach gaps of underserved communities. Wu Yee was awarded an Early Head Start (EHS) grant and entered into par

2000s Reaching Children Across SF

With a growing citywide waitlist of children without access to child care, Wu Yee had to act quickly.

Having successfully developed 6 Head Start and Early Head Start child development centers in the northeast neighborhoods, Wu Yee was tapped to develop centers in more underserved neighborhoods resulting in 6 new child development centers to serve Western Addition, Tenderloin, Bayview Hunter’s Point, Potrero Hill, Ocean-Merced-Ingleside, and Sunnydale/Visitacion Valley.

1980 - playing_Page_11 - taking photo

2020 COVID19 Response, Recovery and Future

Wu Yee opens San Francisco’s first emergency child care center to serve essential frontline workers. We also distribute meals and essential supplies to support over 200 families each week during Shelter-in-Place mandate. Staff develop virtual services and classes to continue parent support.

Wu Yee rallied with the early care and education community to pass progressive measures Baby Prop C in 2018 and Prop F in 2020 to increase funding for early care and education infrastructure in San Francisco. Children are essential to San Francisco and for an equitable economic recovery. We must continue to stand up for every child.