How to Qualify & Apply

Currently, more South Carolina households than ever are eligible for scholarships from the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) to help with the costs of quality child care. The newest scholarship offering is known as COVID-300.

To qualify for a COVID-300 child care scholarship, parent(s) or guardian(s) must:
  • have a child or children between birth and 12 years of age
  • work at least 15 hours per week or attend school or a training program
  • have a gross income below 300% of the federal poverty level; for a family of four this would be up to $112,500 annually
Other Ways to Qualify:
  • Households with essential workers may also qualify for child care scholarships starting in 2023.
  • Child care scholarships are available to support children ages 13 to 18 in certain circumstances: those who have disabilities, developmental delays or who are in foster care.

Income parameters for a COVID-300 child care scholarship

Family Size Monthly (Gross Income) Annual (Gross Income)
1 $0 - $4,553 $0 - $54,630
2 $0 - $6,160 $0 - $73,920
3 $0 - $7,768 $0 - $93,210
4 $0 - $9,375 $0 - $112,500
5 $0 - $10,983 $0 - $131,790
6 $0 - $12,590 $0 - $151,080
7 $0 - $14,198 $0 - $170,370

Ready to apply?

Child care scholarship eligibility requirements and online applications are available in the DSS Benefits Portal.

Child Care Scholarship Applications

Have questions? If you have child care scholarship or eligibility questions, please email scchildcare@dss.sc.gov for assistance. 

 

Additional Child Care Scholarship Programs 

Funding to offset the cost of child care is also available through other programs such as TANF, homeless, dual language learners, and others. Assistance for full or part-time child care will be determined by the number of hours you are participating in work, school or training.

 To qualify, parent(s) or guardian(s) must:

  • have a child or children between birth and 12 years of age 
  • work at least 15 hours per week or attend school or a training program (15-29 hours considered part-time; 30 or more hours considered full-time)
  • have a state median income of 55%; for a family of four this would be up to $46,080 annually

Income parameters for additional child care scholarship programs

Family Size Monthly (Gross Income) Annual (Gross Income)
1 $0 - $1,997 $0 - $23,964
2 $0 - $2,611 $0 - $31,332
3 $0 - $3,225 $0 - $38,700
4 $0 - $3,840 $0 - $46,080
5 $0 - $4,454 $0 - $53,448
6 $0 - $5,069 $0 - $60,828

Note: To see full income standards, click here.

To apply for one of these programs, please contact the Child Care Operations Center at (800) 476-0199.

Program Facts

For Parents

Program facts for parents

  • Scholarships may cover all or a portion of child care costs. 
  • The amount of financial assistance you are eligible for will be determined by factors including your provider’s tuition rate, their ABC Quality level and your child’s age.
  • If you qualify and are approved, funds will be provided in direct payments to your provider for up to 52 weeks.
  • Payments will only be made to licensed, registered or exempt ABC Quality providers to ensure children experience high-quality child care in a setting that’s suited for their needs. See if your provider is part of ABC Quality. 

If you need help finding available child care, please contact the South Carolina Child Care Resource & Referral Network at 1 (888) 335-1002 or visit www.sc-ccrr.org and submit a referral form indicating your need to find an opening in a child care facility.

For Providers

Program facts for child care providers

  • Reimbursement for child care scholarships can be filed online via the Service Voucher Log (SVL), with direct deposit available.
  • A Service Voucher Log (SVL) is used to document the number of hours per day each eligible child attends child care. This ensures children receive the amount of child care that has been authorized.
  • Payment levels may be increased based on the ABC Quality level the provider has achieved.
  • The SVL can be maintained online to expedite the record-keeping and reimbursement process.
  • The Division of Early Care and Education pays providers within 4 to 6 days of receiving online payment documents.
  • For help with questions about the Service Voucher Log (SVL), call 1-800-262-4416.

Contact information 

Child Care Operations Center
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Closed on state holidays
Client Number: (800) 476-0199
Provider Number: (800) 262-4416
Complaint Line: (800) 763-2223

Mailing Address:
Child Care Scholarship Program
P.O. Box 100160
Columbia, SC 29202-3160