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Making Childcare More Affordable for South Carolina Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Will Batchelor
(803) 767-1488
Will.Batchelor@dss.sc.gov

 

Making Childcare More Affordable for South Carolina Families

Rate Changes Impact Reimbursement Rates in the State

October 20th, 2021-The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) is announcing additional steps to assist parents as they balance work and child care. Starting October 1, 2021, SCDSS’ Division of Early Care and Education implemented a new reimbursement rate structure issued to child care providers participating in ABC Quality and accepting SC Voucher recipients.

Overall, that means increases in the maximum amount providers are reimbursed. The new structure is based on the individual age of the child as opposed to a grouping of ages.

Take this example. Previously, the maximum weekly urban payment allowed for full-time children ages 0-2 for a Level A+ provider was $205. Now, the maximum payment for a full-time child under 1 is $296. For ages 1 and 2, it is $284. To find amount changes for other ages and classifications, click here. It is important to note that this process is not automatic and providers will have to apply for a rate increase.  For more information, please call the SC Voucher Program at 1-800-262-4416.

 

 

HOW IT WORKS

Under this program, the state pays a reimbursement rate directly to child care providers on behalf of families who are enrolled in SC Voucher and meet the income and work or education requirements of the program. The overall rate increase will save many participating families money by reducing the portion they have to pay to cover tuition expenses. Additionally, this rate increase will provide financial support to child care providers who may be recovering from financial losses during the pandemic. The rates charged to SC Voucher recipients should not exceed what is charged to private pay families.

“In many cases, providers will receive more reimbursement based on what they are charging,” said Michael Leach, SCDSS State Director. “This change makes sure provider rates are more closely aligned for what they are charging for the age of the child. In the end, that helps both working families who are continuing to navigate through the pandemic and the child care facilities that provide quality care for those parents.”

In addition to the rate changes, SCDSS has issued a fifth round of COVID Support Child Care Operating Grants to help child care providers that have had to close temporarily or have lost revenue due to low enrollments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This grant opportunity is available to assist licensed or registered child care centers, group child care homes, and family child care home providers in paying for their child care facility expenses, including rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, cleaning or sanitation costs, and personnel costs which may include salary increases, retention bonuses, etc. Since May 2020, the agency has expended more than $181 million in these child care provider grants. For more information on the grants, please visit here.

 

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Best Outcomes for Children and Families

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.