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Help Paying For Child Care

Financial assistance may be available to families otherwise unable to afford quality child care. If you would like more information about South Carolina's financial assistance options, please visit the links or email the contacts provided in the list below.

The SC DSS Scholarship Program is offered by the SC Department of Social Services. The program provides child care tuition support to income-eligible families to enable parents and guardians to work, attend school, or pursue professional training. DSS Scholarships are also available to parents and guardians who have a disability. Many parents share in the cost of care through co-payment based on family size and income.

More information is available here. You can also contact our Child Care Referral Specialist at for help starting the application process.

The DLL Scholarship is funded by the SC Department of Social Services. It is specifically for families who speak a language other than English in the home and have a child aged 0-12 years old.

Parents and guardians are required to do one of the following to qualify:

  • work a minimum of 15 hours per week
  • attend school (this includes ESL classes)
  • actively seek employment

For more information and an application, please contact our Dual Language Learner Specialist at

A video with further information on South Carolina's DLL Voucher, ABC Quality, and child care referrals is available at this link.

The HI Scholarship is funded by the SC Department of Social Services. Families currently experiencing homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act (lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence) and who have a child aged 0-12 years old may be eligible for the Homeless Initiative Voucher.

For more information and an application, please contact our HI Support & Child Care Referral Specialist at

First Steps 4K offers free four-year-old kindergarten programs to qualifying South Carolina children. First Steps 4K partners with private, non-profit, faith-based, independent, and charter school preschool programs across the state. Families may also be eligible for First Steps 4K + Siblings, a collaboration with DSS that extends to siblings 0-12 enrolled in First Steps 4K for free child care scholarships.

To learn more or to apply, please visit SC First Steps 4K

Head Start is a federally funded, completely free comprehensive early childhood education program serving children from low-income families, from birth to five years old. Additionally, Head Start provides health and nutrition services and actively engages family and community members in the program and classrooms.

For more information, please visit Head Start.

Child Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP) is a free, full-day 4-year-old program for at-risk children. Enrollment eligibility is income-based. CERDEP classrooms may be housed in public elementary schools or public child care centers. Local school districts may offer half-or full-day options, with eligibility determined at the district level.

For more information, please visit their site.

To find out if you qualify for SC Voucher, First Steps 4K, Head Start, or SCDE Public School Pre-K, please visit Palmetto Pre-K.