SFKids.org, the city’s primary online resource for parents, turned 10 this year, to celebrate it’s getting a new look. The San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF) released a revamped version of the site today.
With the changes, DCYF aims to enhance engagement with a broader swath of San Francisco’s families.The site hopes to reach more underserved communities with its sleek design and new user-friendly features, such as an added map view for the event calendar listings and targeted sections for parents, teens and childcare providers.
“So many times parents don’t understand what’s going on around the corner at their local park,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents District 2 and is raising three young children in San Francisco. “This is one method for our parents to engage with our city government and most importantly, for our government to engage with our parents,” he said.
SFKids.org was designed to be a one-stop resource for families about the events, services and programs for youth in San Francisco’s neighborhoods. With its new redesign spearheaded by San Francisco-based civic start-up Appallicious, the new SFKids.org aims to do a better job at supporting families.
Appallicious CEO and co-founder Yo Yoshida hopes that the website, which currently receives 2,000 visitors a day, will double or triple in its traffic with the revamp and reach a wider spectrum of families in San Francisco. Before the revamp, SFKids.org only had English language content; it will now include a translation feature, providing content in Spanish, Mandarin and Tagalog, among other languages.
“[The new website] can reach a very broad audience in San Francisco, not just the tech-savvy families, but all communities,” Yoshida said. “We can engage with the rest of the immigrant community that does not speak English.”
This year, there will be roughly 14,000 events geared towards families and children in San Francisco, most of them free. Until now, no centralized online resource has existed for people to find out about these many events.
With the rising cost of living in San Francisco, the number of families and children appear to be shrinking, which concerns Supervisor Farrell. In 2012, families of three earning $111,000 a year could only afford 23% of homes for sale in San Francisco, according to statistics presented at a special Board of Supervisors hearing last year.
“We have the least amount of children of any major city,” Farrell said. “This isn’t a very simple issue to conquer, but it is incumbent upon us to work on the issue and to focus on it and work with our families. This relaunch of SFKids.org is simply a tool in that toolbox to really engage with families in San Francisco.”
For Yoshida, the website is a major first step towards “building the infrastructure in supporting families” citywide.
“For me, it’s incredibly rewarding,” said Yoshida, who once contemplated leaving the city to raise his new two-week-old baby. “It’s going to have a direct reflection on my life in the next year.”
In conjunction with the new website, DCYF will also monitor the @sfkids Twitter account to create a real-time feedback engine for parents to submit ideas and suggestions to make San Francisco more kid-friendly.
“This is the first step towards how we should be engaging communities,” Yoshida said. “It’s about trying to make change and make difference for everyone as a whole.”