SC Department of Social Services
South Carolina parents who meet established income guidelines may be eligible
for assistance with the cost of their weekly child care. You may be eligible
to receive child care assistance through the SC Department of Social Services
if one or more of the following situations apply to your family:
You are working or are attempting to find work
You are in school or in a job training program
Your child is receiving child protective services
Your child needs care to support child welfare services or if your family
is experiencing a crisis
Your child has developmental needs
For more information, please contact the SC Department of Social Services
Family Independence Program.
Head Start Programs
Head Start is
a national program that provides comprehensive developmental and social services
low-income preschool children and their families. The Head Start Program began
in 1965 to give children of low-income families access to preschool programs.
The program is administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services,
through the Administration for Children and Families.
There are four major components of the Head Start Program:
Education: This component serves children's cognitive, social, and
emotional growth. Great care and consideration is given to ethnic and cultural
Health: Families receive services related to medical, dental, mental, and
nutritional heath. The Head Start Program emphasizes the prevention of health
Parental Involvement: Parents are able to serve on advisory boards and
program-planning committees, volunteer in the classrooms, and attend parent-education
Social Services: Social service teams work to identify the needs of a family
and find appropriate community-based referrals.
In 1994, Head Start established a program to serve low-income infants, toddlers,
and pregnant women, called Early
Head Start. The main focus of the program is to promote children's
development in physical, social, emotional, and cognitive areas, empower parents
to develop better parenting skills, and help parents reach their goal of economic
independence. Services that are available through the Early Head Start Program
Home visits, which include developmentally appropriate early childhood
Comprehensive health services
Support services for families, including case management, referrals to
community resources, and peer support
DCAP and Employer-Sponsored Assistance
Dependent Care Assistance Plans: Some companies offer a DCAP program, which allows employees to set aside
up to $5,000 of their pre-tax salary per year to pay for dependent care
expenses. There are certain restrictions that apply -- e.g., unspent funds
are usually not refundable to the employee. Speak with the benefits coordinator
at your workplace for more details on the plan.
Employer-Sponsored Assistance: Many employers now offer some form of employer-sponsored child care assistance
to their employees. Some examples of assistance include:
Matching funds or subsidy programs that are paid for by the employer for
employees' child care needs. This is offered as an employee benefit.
Work and family resources, offered through the HR department, that may
include enhanced CCR&R services in child care, elder care, and work/life
Employer funding for camp programs for employees' children
during school and summer vacations.
Some employers offer on-site care for mildly ill children and emergency
Many employers find that providing on-site child care creates benefits
both for the employee, by providing reduced tuition costs and stress-relief,
and for the employer, with increased productivity, retention, and hiring