The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) is dedicated to making childcare more accessible and affordable for parents, while also increasing the quality of care for all children in the state. The Division of Early Care and Education, a part of SCDSS, is responsible for managing all state and federal child care programs, as well as serving as the single point of contact for federal money for child care in South Carolina. In order to better understand the current state of childcare in South Carolina, the “Build it Back Better” survey was conducted by the South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council, the United Way Association of South Carolina and First Steps of South Carolina, with support from the Alliance for Early Success. The results of this survey revealed that 62 percent of South Carolina is considered a child care desert and 31 percent of the state's authorized child care providers remain closed.
This alarming statistic has prompted SCDSS to take action and develop strategies to make childcare more accessible and affordable for families across the state. To that end, SCDSS has implemented a number of initiatives to help families access quality childcare. One such initiative is the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). This program provides financial assistance to eligible families to help them pay for childcare services.
The program is designed to help families who are working or attending school, as well as those who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. In addition to CCAP, SCDSS also offers a number of other programs and services to help families access quality childcare. These include:
- The Child Care Resource and Referral Network – This network provides information about available childcare options in each county.
- The Quality Rating System – This system helps parents identify high-quality childcare providers.
- The Child Care Development Fund – This fund provides grants to help families pay for childcare services.
By taking these steps, SCDSS is helping to make childcare more accessible and affordable for families across South Carolina. With these initiatives in place, parents can rest assured that their children are receiving quality care in a safe and nurturing environment.