Other Early Childhood Resources for SC Families


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.

South Carolina First Steps is an Early Head Start grantee, serving infants and toddlers in 14 South Carolina counties: Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Berkeley, Dillon, Fairfield, Georgetown, Laurens, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Saluda, Orangeburg, and York. For information on SC First Steps Early Head Start program, click here.

The First Steps partnerships in Charleston, Lancaster, Richland and Spartanburg Counties also offer Early Head Start services.

In addition to First Steps’ Head Start offerings, there are more than 20 community-based Head Start grantees all across the state. To learn more about the Head Start offerings in your community, visit the SC Head Start Association website and click on your county.


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 is located here.

As in the First Steps 4K program, public school 4K programs are open to children who:

– Are 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 district for specifics.


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.