Columbia, South Carolina - At first5sc.org, families can now check their child's eligibility for more than 40 programs and, using information they already entered, apply for multiple programs at once.
The South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council is pleased to announce the launch of the First Five SC common application, a new tool that allows families to apply for multiple publicly funded early childhood programs at once on first5sc.org.
This is a game changer for families in South Carolina," said Georgia Mjartan, executive director of South Carolina First Steps and the Early Childhood Advisory Council. "We know that navigating the complex world of public services can be overwhelming, and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for parents and caregivers to access the resources they need to support their children's development."
The First Five SC common application is the result of two years of development and collaboration across 10 state agencies. South Carolina is the first state in the nation to create a resource where families can access information about the full spectrum of state- and federally-funded services available to young children, determine which ones they are eligible for, and apply for multiple programs at once – all from their smartphone or computer.
"We believe that this tool will break down the barriers that have historically prevented some families from accessing the services they need to thrive," added Mjartan.
First5sc.org initially launched in February 2022 with information about more than 60 early childhood programs and an interactive form that checks a child’s eligibility for 44 of these programs. In its first year, the website attracted over 100,000 visitors. Of the individuals who completed the eligibility screener, 78% qualified for at least one program.
The First Five SC common application is available starting today. To request free outreach materials to share with families in your community, visit first5sc.org/share-first-five-sc.
About First Five SC
First Five SC is a website that connects South Carolinians with public programs and services for young children (ages 0-5). At first5sc.org, families can check their eligibility for 44 services from across 10 state agencies, including child care assistance, preschool programs, healthcare, special needs services, food and nutrition assistance, and parenting support. Then, with fields prepopulated using information they already entered, families can easily apply for the programs that best meet their unique needs. Most young children in South Carolina qualify for one or more of these programs, but many families don’t know what is available or where to look for information. First Five SC makes it easier than ever with a smartphone-friendly application that is available anytime, anywhere.