COLUMBIA, S.C. — Many South Carolina parents can now get more help paying for child care.
The S.C. Department of Social Services (DSS) has announced it’s upping the amount of money paid to child care providers for low-income families.
"We know that the cost of child care is a huge expense,” said spokesperson for the agency, Connelly-Anne Ragley.
She explained that families enrolled in the SC Voucher Program can see a rate increase in the amount of money paid to daycares for their child care.
“This will be a long-term rate increase. It’s not a short-term solution for COVID, but a long-term investment in providers,” Ragley said.
As of October 1, the agency has upped the weekly payment to help parents and participating providers.
For example, if a child is 2 years old and has a voucher, DSS covered $205 in daycare costs weekly. Now, it will be $284 weekly.
"We know that child care is such an important piece of the puzzle for our workforce and there’s a real need for childcare," Ragley explained. "Studies have shown over the last five years, not just because of COVID, that the need for childcare is increasing.”
During the pandemic, DSS has given over $180 million to childcare providers to help keep their doors open.
This latest announcement is thanks to federal funding. Daycares must apply for the agency’s ABC Quality program to get the extra money.
If you're a child care provider and want to learn more about the ABC Quality Program, click here.
If you're a parent looking for child care assistance or want to learn more about the SC Voucher Program, click here.