South Carolina First Steps was established as both an agency of state government and an affiliate network of nonprofit organizations for the purpose of leveraging both public and private resources in support of services that prepare children to start school ready to reach their highest potential.

As the only funder of early childhood programs in every county of the state, South Carolina First Steps both administers grants of state funding on behalf of the General Assembly and actively seeks additional public and private resources to make discretionary and targeted grants in support of services to children birth through five.


Family Services Expansion Grant

The Family Services Expansion Grant application is now open to local First Steps partnership organizations to support services to families with children 0-5. Through this funding, SC First Steps intends to increase the statewide reach of evidence-based parenting programs; launch a new evidence-based home visitation model in South Carolina to support school readiness, HIPPYUSA (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters); and provide capacity for local First Steps partnerships to help connect families of preschool children to services they need, increase the reach of family support services and literacy programs; and educate communities on how they can partner with families to support school readiness. 

More than $800,000 is available to local partnerships for supporting and expanding evidence-based parenting education models, including home visitation and group parenting programs. Additionally, First Steps partnerships may apply to become local implementation sites for a new statewide AmeriCorps program: 30 Members total, recruited by local partnerships from their home communities to become peer parent educators for HIPPY, family support specialists, or community education and outreach specialists. Local partnerships may apply for up to three Members for one, two, or all three roles, valued at more than $250,000 statewide in Member stipends and support.

Please review the grant guidance, scoring rubric, and appendix A for specific details regarding this grant opportunity.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Deadline: August 7, 2020

To learn more about First Steps grantmaking and grant seeking, contact Betty Gardiner, Director of Grantmaking and Development.