DSS will continue to offer child care scholarships for working parents. Beginning October 1st, in order to qualify for an SC Working Families Child Care Scholarship your family must have a gross income at or below 85% of the state median income level; for a family of four this would be up to $76,272 annually. Families whose income falls above the new threshold and already have child care scholarships will remain enrolled until their 52-week eligibility period expires.

What is the Child Care Scholarship Program?

The Child Care Scholarship Program makes child care more affordable for families by making all or a portion of provider payments directly to child care providers so parents can work or attend school or training. Provider payments are received promptly, often 3–4 days after online submission, and participation unlocks access to grants and other support through ABC Quality.

The Child Care Scholarship Program helps families afford child care so parents can work, go to school, or get job training.  More than 1,900 child care providers across the state are enrolled to accept scholarships.

How to Qualify

Qualifying South Carolina families may have access to child care scholarships from the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). The primary SC Working Families child care scholarship offering is known as the Strong Start Child Care Scholarship.

What Families Need to Know

To qualify for a Strong Start 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 at or below 85% of the state median income level; for a family of four this would be up to $76,272 annually
Other Ways to Qualify:
  • 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.

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. 

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