S.C. First Steps awards $17 million in grants
South Carolina First Steps has awarded its largest funding amount in more than 15 years — $17,664,476 in grants to its network of 46 local First Steps partnerships. A combination of state, federal and private dollars, the funds will directly impact more than 30,000 children and will expand parenting programs, increase the quality of child care, support positive transitions between early childhood and elementary school, and improve the health of South Carolina’s youngest citizens. The state’s largest funder of early childhood programs in every county, South Carolina First Steps was able to award both $14,435,228 in state funding to all 46 local First Steps partnerships, plus $3,229,248 in federal, state, and private funds in targeted and competitive grant funding to help 44 counties expand and add new programs that successfully prepare children for school. As part of the grant program, funding is expected to nearly double the number of children and families able to be served in the coming program year, compared to the current year. Also, 38 AmeriCorps members will be recruited, trained and deployed across 18 counties to provide family and community outreach and support and parent education using the HIPPY model (Home Instruction Program for Parents of Preschool Youngsters). Locally, Darlington First Steps is expected to get $223,020, and to be assigned one AmeriCorps Member.