BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) is giving a boost to child care providers that are part of their ABC Quality program and accepting SC Voucher recipients.
“We know that child care is such an important piece and an integral piece in our workforce and having South Carolina back on track in response to COVID-19,” says Connelly-Anne Ragley, the director of communications and external affairs for SCDSS.
SCDSS says the additional funding could help expand child care opportunities for working parents.
“It’s also, hopefully, going to allow more providers to maybe expand their operations, maybe open a second location or third location so that we’re really providing and having more slots available for childcare throughout our state,” says Ragley.
SCDSS says the need for affordable child care was there even prior to the pandemic. But COVID-19 made the issue worse, not just in South Carolina, but across the nation.
“There has been a decline in the availability and the affordability of child care throughout this country for quite some time, so I think the pandemic has maybe exacerbated that fact or brought it to the attention of others and really tried to highlight that need for our American workforce,” Ragley said.
With this funding, SCDSS is making sure families get the support they need.
“That is the intent of the increase, is that we’re using money that is not solely from COVID-19 so that these can be long-term increased in voucher rates to support providers,” says Ragley.
The process of applying for the rate increase is not automatic for providers. For more information, you can call the SC Voucher program at 1-800-262-4416. You can also visit the SCDSS child care website at scchildcare.org.