Kids Factory FAQ

Update 6-17-2021

Kids Factory fees approved by City Council on 6-15-21 for year 21-22 are $95 per month; $75 per month in December 2021. More information and registration at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kids Factory?

Kids Factory is a drop-in after school program offering crafts, games, sports, special event days, and other recreational activities. It is not designed as a child-care program. Kids Factory had been funded by the City of Lake Forest and run by Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) Community Services staff. 

Kids Factory, designed for children entering grades K-6, operated until 4 p.m. on school days. The program pre-dated the City’s incorporation, when SVUSD offered a variety of recreation programs.

What role did Saddleback Valley Unified play in the program?

Saddleback Valley Unified acted as a contractor for the City. The District hosted the programs at its campuses and coordinated program registration. The City paid all costs, including staffing, site cell phones, trainings, supplies, mileage, and administrative fees. 

How many Lake Forest children participated in Kids Factory last year?

In 2019-2020 school year, 1,088 students participated in Kids Factory on eight SVUSD elementary school campuses in Lake Forest. 

How much did the program cost participants? 

Participants paid $95 for the year in 2019-20, which was raised from $50 annually the previous year. Before 2018-19, participants paid $25 annually.

How much would the City pay Saddleback Valley Unified for the Kids Factory? 

SVUSD estimated the FY 2020-21 Kids Factory program would cost $485,977. The City’s Comprehensive Fee Study, created in 2019 with 2017-2018 data, determined the cost recovery for Kids Factory was just 11 percent.

What alternatives were considered?

Going into the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget process, two scenarios for Kids Factory funding were developed:

  • Increasing participation fees to $400 annually, which was projected to reduce the City’s net cost to $84,500 annually, assuming the same number of participants
  • Increasing participation fees to $600 annually, which was projected to reduce the City’s net cost to $4,500 annually, with the likelihood of fewer participants.

What are other options for parents who need after-school care?

  • The Learning Connection (TLC) is an accredited after-school program available with SVUSD. The program is $332 a month for five days a week, from dismissal to 6 p.m.  Attending three days a week is $265 a month.
  • The City Council in 2019-20 approved a pilot program with The Boys and Girls Club to provide an after-school, pop-up club at El Toro Park. If renewed by the City Council, that program can accommodate the same age group. The Club’s initial proposal received significant support from Lake Forest parents. Staff anticipates bringing the Boys and Girls Club to Council on July 21.
  • Tutor Time, the YMCA, Daycare Lake Forest, and several other private organizations/individuals in the City also provide after-school daycare programs.

What other support does the City provide to youth programs?

Overall, the Community Services’ Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget is more than $2.5 million. Some highlights include:

  • $505,900 for Skatepark staffing, maintenance, and events.
  • $88,000 for Teen programs, classes, and youth sports at the Sports Park & Rec Center (not including staff costs).
  • $84,500 for Community programs and special events (not including staff costs).

What other support does the City provide Saddleback Valley Unified School District?

The City’s Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget includes the following services that are funded by many school districts throughout the state and other financial support for SVUSD programs:

  • $363,000 – Crossing guard services
  • $286,000 – School Resource Officer (SRO)
  • $    3,500 – Grad Night donations
  • $    1,000 – Donation to El Toro High School band for July 4 parade participation

How does the City support recreation for the community at large? 

The Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget identifies more than $3.7 million for park maintenance and repairs, including:

  • $1.4 million for park maintenance and amenities
  • $2.3 million for maintenance of sports fields throughout the City