Quality Child Care
First Steps recognizes quality child care as a research-based determinant of school readiness. As such, First Steps collaborates with parents, the child care community and its agency and community partners to maximize child care quality throughout the state. Particular emphasis is placed on assisting parents in their efforts to identify those settings most likely to maximize developmental outcomes, and assisting providers in their own efforts to maximize the learning environments they provide for young children. Through child care quality programs, First Steps seeks to:
- Increase availability of quality child care choices for parents, as measured by increasing numbers of child care providers operating at higher levels of quality;
- Increase the number of child care vouchers available to S.C. families for high-quality child care;
- Increase school readiness focus in child care settings;
- Increase the leverage of federal and private resources to serve the state’s most at-risk children;
- Increase the number of child care workers achieving progress toward early education certification and continued professional development;
- Improve the quality of the physical and learning environments in child care settings of all types; and
- Expand public-private partnerships in 4K.
Research shows that high-quality child care and early education can boost children’s learning and social skills when they enter school. First Steps strategies for Child Care include:
Quality Enhancement – First Steps assists child care providers to improve program quality by funding targeted upgrades to meet DSS licensing or ABC-enhanced requirements, and to further enhance learning environments for young children.
Staff Training and Development – First Steps provides staff development and mentoring to assist providers in meeting DSS training requirements, increasing the knowledge of child care workers and improving the quality of programs offered in participating child care facilities.
Child Care Scholarships – First Steps provides scholarships to high quality child care programs for eligible families and their children and increases the number of child care slots in South Carolina.
For more information on the offerings of First Steps in your community, click here.