In addition to the early childhood programs offered by South Carolina First Steps and its local partnerships, many partner agencies – at both the state and local levels – offer related programs that might benefit your child and family.
Below you will find brief descriptions of these programs and the contact information you will need to explore participation and eligibility.
Head Start/Early Head Start
Head Start is a comprehensive, federally-funded preschool program serving children from low-income families (0-5). Early Head Start programs serve children from birth to three, while the Head Start preschool program serves children three- and four-year-olds. Head Start services are offered in each of South Carolina’s 46 counties.
In addition to these local First Steps offerings, there are more than 20 community-based Head Start grantees across the state. To learn more about the Head Start offerings in your community, visit the website of the South Carolina State Head Start Association.
Do you or your pediatrician have a concern about your child’s development? BabyNet is South Carolina’s early intervention program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays. Through the program, which is part of the same federal law that supports special education services in the state’s public school districts, qualifying families participate in the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), a written plan mapping out specific early intervention services for which your child is eligible. To learn more about BabyNet, visit the website of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
School District 4K Programs
South Carolina First Steps co-administers the state’s four-year-old kindergarten program with the South Carolina Department of Education – with the SCDE overseeing these offerings in the state’s public school districts and First Steps supporting service delivery in a network of more than 200 private, community- and faith-based classrooms.
4K is offered in each of South Carolina’s public school districts. To learn more about the public school offerings in your community, contact your local school district. Contact information for each school district can be found on the website of the South Carolina Department of Education.
As in the First Steps 4K program, public school 4K programs are open to children who:
- Are age 4 by September 1 of the applicable school year;
- Can provide proof of residence in the school district in question; and
- Qualify for free or reduced price lunch or Medicaid.
In limited cases, school districts may include additional eligibility criteria, including developmental delay. Contact your local school district for more information.
SC Voucher Program
The SC Voucher Program, operated by the SC Department of Social Services, offers child care tuition support to eligible, low-income families so their parents can work or attend school. Parent income must be below 150% of the federal poverty level for entrance into the voucher program. To learn more about the SC Voucher program, click here.