Affordable, high-quality child care is a must for families in South Carolina. Child care not only keeps children safe and healthy, but it also helps them develop social, emotional, and communication skills as well as early education concepts that they will need for success in school and in their lives outside of school and throughout their lives. Unfortunately, many families in communities across the state have limited access to child care. But that’s where ABC Quality comes in.
ABC Quality works with community partners and providers across South Carolina to create new child care programs and expand existing programs in underserved communities. Through special grants and other funding opportunities, ABC Quality helps fund program and facility operations, technology upgrades, financial assistance for personnel, equipment, and supplies that help providers enhance their facilities and operations to ensure that quality child care is accessible and affordable for all children and families in our state.
Some of the ways ABC Quality is working to make child care more accessible for families include the following:
SC Building Blocks Grant: Child care stabilization grants were allocated to states during the American Rescue Plan Act (Public Law 117-2) to help stabilize the child care sector through subgrants to child care programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, $679 Million has been provided to SC child care programs in operating and stabilization grants to help recover from lost revenue due to low enrollments during pandemic response. Child care programs used the funds to support their key operating expenses (personnel costs, rent, utilities, facility maintenance, insurance, personal protective equipment, health and safety practices, etc.)—all costs that are associated with running and maintaining a child care facility. The SC Building Blocks Grant was awarded to qualifying child care programs in two rounds to help ensure access to safe, high-quality child care for families throughout the state. For more information on the SC Building Blocks Grant, visit here.
The T.E.A.C.H Scholarship Applications Open for Child Care Professionals: The SC Endeavors T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program awards scholarships to child care teachers, directors, owners, and family/group providers currently working in a licensed or registered child care program. Applications for the program are on a revolving basis and are now open for the spring 2023 semester. If you know a child care professional who wants to earn their credentials, associates, or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, please encourage them to apply. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program has made a positive impact on many child care professionals and helped ensure a higher level of quality care at providers throughout the state. To learn more or apply, click here.
The Child Care Scholarship Program: The SC Department of Social Service’s Division of Early Care and Education offers financial assistance for child care for working families that have income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. The Child Care Scholarship program makes child care more affordable for families in need by making all or a portion of the payments directly to child care programs so families can work or attend school or training. Child care participation in the child care payments unlocks access to grants and other support through ABC Quality. More than 1,500 child care programs across the state are currently enrolled to accept scholarships. As of Nov. 2022, more than 1,500 child care programs across the state are currently enrolled in the program, which has enabled approximately 43,250 eligible children to receive high-quality child care. Since October 2020, approximately $539 million has been allocated for Child Care Scholarships when DSS began offering additional child care assistance programs for working families in response to COVID-19. The Child Care Scholarship program also created a new, easy-to-use online application for parents and providers to check their eligibility by clicking here.