Contact Maria Su


Maria Su

Executive Director

Dr. Maria Su is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF). DCYF is an innovative policy and grant making agency and a proud steward of the Children and Youth Fund, a landmark initiative that funds comprehensive services for children, youth and families in the City & County of San Francisco. DCYF is one of the few city departments in the country dedicated exclusively to the needs of young people from birth through 24 years of age. Dr. Su oversees and administers approximately $100M annually, for children and family services ranging from early care and education, out-of-school time services, teens and youth workforce development, family support and violence prevention and intervention programs. Dr. Su started with DCYF as the Deputy Director in 2005 and was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2009 as Department Head.

Dr. Su currently serves as a commissioner on the San Francisco Department of Early Childcare Commission and is Co-Chair of the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council. Dr. Su is an advocate for children services, and a leader in social justice and education reform. She has held senior management and executive positions at grassroots non-profit agencies and at large institutions throughout San Francisco. Dr. Su received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Boston University and Doctor of Psychology Degree from Alliant International University-CSPP.

What inspires you to do this work?

As a first generation immigrant, I am so grateful for all of the support that my family and I received from the government, nonprofit agencies, and our amazing community. My family came to this country with nothing more than a dream for a better life, and the willingness to work hard for that dream. Many of my extended family members, close friends, and countless classmates had the same dream, and put in the same effort to achieve it, but struggled to realize success due to structural racism, oppressive policies, and struggles with mental health. I firmly believe that my story cannot and should not be an isolated or unique one for our immigrant community, communities of color, and communities living in poverty. I believe that the government's role, and DCYF’s role in particular, is to create meaningful opportunities for children, youth, and families, help them when and how they need it, and engage with them where they are. It is my responsibility to open door for our City’s children, youth, and families as wide as possible, and to use my authority to support them as they realize their dreams and live up to their fullest potential.

DCYF’s tagline is “Making San Francisco a Great Place to Grow Up.” Do you believe this? Tell us why.

Absolutely! San Francisco is an amazing city with awe-inspiring parks and open spaces, people of all different cultures, orientations, and experiences, and infrastructure that is growing by the second. Our residents have a history of prioritizing creativity, freedom, and quirkiness. What better place to raise children who are street and culture smart, aware and accepting of differences, and have access to different flavors of cuisine from across the globe! On top of all of this, we have an amazing system of non-profit providers and dedicated funding to ensure that children, youth, TAY and families will be able to thrive.

Is there a song or anthem that inspires your grind and motivates you to serve our communities?

“Unstoppable” by Sia.