Who We Are

Early Childhood Advisory Council

“We will be successful when all children reach their highest potential.”

~Vision statement for South Carolina’s Birth through Five state system

Adopted by the SC Early Childhood Advisory Council~


About ECAC

The South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) includes the directors of state agencies and government entities that provides services to young children including DSS, DHEC, DHHS, the Children’s Trust, the Head Start Collaboration Office and SC First Steps, which is the connector and convener of all early childhood serving agencies.

The purpose of the ECAC is to carry out the following functions:

  • Conduct a periodic statewide needs assessment concerning the quality and availability of early childhood education and development programs and services for children from birth to the age of school entry, including an assessment of the availability of high-quality prekindergarten services for low income children in the State;
  • Identify opportunities for, and barriers to, collaboration and coordination among federally funded and state-funded child development, child care, and early childhood education programs and services, including collaboration and coordination among state agencies responsible for administering these programs;
  • Develop recommendations for increasing the overall participation of children in existing federal, state, and local child care and early childhood education programs, including outreach to underrepresented and special populations;
  • Develop recommendations regarding the establishment of a unified data collection system for public early childhood education and development programs and services throughout the State;
  • Develop recommendations regarding statewide professional development and career advancement plans for early childhood educators in the State;
  • Assess the capacity and effectiveness of two-year and four-year public and private institutions of higher education in the State for supporting the development of early childhood educators, including the extent to which these institutions have in place articulation agreements, professional development and career advancement plans, and practice or internships for students to spend time in a Head Start or prekindergarten program;
  • Make recommendations for improvements in state early learning standards and undertake efforts to develop high-quality comprehensive early learning standards, as appropriate;
  • Develop and publish, using available demographic data, an indicators-based measure of school readiness at the state and community level;
  • Incorporate, within the periodic statewide needs assessments required in 42 U.S.C. Section 9837b, any data related to the capacity and efforts of private sector providers, Head Start providers, and local school districts to serve children from birth to age five, including fiscal, enrollment, and capacity data; and
  • Perform all other functions, as permitted under federal and state law, to improve coordination and delivery of early childhood education and development to children in this State.


Early Childhood Advisory Council Board Members


Chip Stanley, Chairman

Julie Hussey, Vice Chair

Senator Greg Hembree

Representative Rita Allison

Senator Gerald Malloy

Representative Jerry N. Govan

David Mathis, Superintendent of Education Designee

Mary Lynne Diggs, Head Start Collaboration Office

Sue Williams, Children’s Trust of SC, CEO

Joan Meacham, DSS, Acting Director

Richard Toomey, DHEC, Director

Joshua Baker, DHHS, Director

Mary Poole, DDSN, Interim Director

Walter Fleming, Jr.

Alexia Newman

Timothy Holt

Roger Pryor, Jr.

Jennifer McConnell

Dr. Shelley Canright

Angel Johnson-Brebner

Dr. Amy Williams


Preschool Development Grant

Recently, South Carolina was awarded a $3.5 million federal Preschool Development Grant to assess all services available to children from birth through age 5 statewide. Through this grant funding, South Carolina’s Early Childhood Education System (ECE) will increase access to quality early childhood programs and services for vulnerable children through:

  • Child-serving agencies and organizations sharing a common vision, goals, and outcomes for the state’s birth through five system;
  • Coordination, collaboration, and alignment across the state’s mixed delivery system that supports an increase in access for families;
  • Shared recruitment and applications processes;
  • Coordinated efforts to maximize parents’ knowledge of the ECE system and available services;
  • Statewide activities to support transitions for children between various early childhood programs and into elementary school;
  • Shared professional development to better meet the complex social and emotional development needs of vulnerable children and families, including trauma-informed care;
  • Expanded supports to providers to improve quality; and
  • Improve date-driven decision making

Between now and February 2020, we expected to achieve the following outcomes:


May 2019 Preschool Development Grant Activities

To better understand the needs of young children and their families in South Carolina, regional meetings in Florence, Greenville, North Charleston, and Columbia have been scheduled.

REGISTER HERE: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RegMeet2019.