Child Care & Early Education

Check Eligibility

Find out which services you’re eligible for.

Find a Provider

Look for child care, preschool, and other services in your area.

Need More Help?

Our partners can guide you through the process.

Young child smiling while laying on floor mat in front of box of blocks in child care center classroom

Need help paying for child care so you can work?

We can connect families to vouchers and scholarships that help parents afford high quality child care while they work, train for a job, or go to school. See if you qualify and how you can find care that fits your family’s needs.

SC Vouchers

Programs and Services

SC Child Care Scholarships

Parents with income below 300% of the federal poverty level may be eligible for vouchers to pay for child care while they work or attend school.

Public School 4K

Local school districts offer many options for public school 4K, and eligibility is based on income, Medicaid eligibility, developmental readiness, and other factors based on each district’s PreK offerings.

Head Start

Care, activities, and lunch are provided free to children birth to age 5 who are from families with income at or below the poverty level.

Early Head Start

Free child care and parenting support are provided for eligible children age 3 and under, pregnant women, and their families.

First Steps 4K

Free 4-year-old kindergarten is available for eligible children, with full day programs five days a week.

First Steps 4K + Siblings

When a child enrolls in First Steps 4K, other children under 12 in the household qualify for free child care and after-school scholarships.

SC Child Care Resource & Referral

Parents and caregivers can search for childcare in their area and learn how to apply for financial help.

Countdown To Kindergarten

This free summer program helps children get ready for kindergarten and eases worries they or their family may have.

Countdown To Kindergarten - 4K

Teachers start Countdown to 4K by meeting with eligible families one-on-one for five sessions during the summer. Then as the first day of school gets closer, the teacher welcomes the child and family to the classroom for a visit before school begins. This free program helps children and parents understand what happens at 4K and the changes that 4K will bring. It’s also designed to help children and families feel comfortable about this new experience.

Child Care Scholarships

Children age 5 and under may be eligible for scholarships that let them go to quality child care centers tuition-free.

Library Based Programs

Local librarians visit families, childcare programs, and preschools to bring books, share stories, and interest children in reading.

Early Learning and Literacy

The Office of Early Learning and Literacy at the SC Dept. of Education works with school districts, teachers, communities, and families to provide resources to help every child succeed in school.