The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) recently announced that eligible child care providers in the state can now apply for the Materials/Health & Safety Grant. Applications are due by Oct. 31, 2023.
Eligible providers can receive anywhere from $8,000 to $60,000 in grant funding to spend on materials and projects that will keep their facilities open so they better serve families, children, and communities in South Carolina.
If you operate a child care facility in South Carolina, you probably have an overwhelming number of questions that need answers. How do you apply for the grant? How much funding are you eligible to receive? What can you buy with your grant funds? What should you know before submitting a grant application?
We have been leaders in early childhood education for over 50 years, so we understand how impactful extra funding can be for children and child care facilities like yours. This article will help you better understand how to apply for the South Carolina Materials/Health & Safety Grant, if you are eligible to receive it, and how you can make use of the funds to improve the operation of your facility and the educational opportunities for children in your care.
What Is the South Carolina DSS Materials/Health & Safety Grant?
As of August 7th, 2023, the South Carolina DSS is offering a one-time grant for child care providers and programs. The state received four supplemental federal child care grants related to COVID-19, totaling $954.6 million, which you now have access to.
With this grant, you can purchase materials and items that contribute to the safe operation of your facility and promote classroom functionality. The South Carolina DSS hopes that these funds will provide resources for child care providers so they can expand their capacity to serve children, increase employee wages, and acquire needed materials to support the education of young children.
Am I Eligible to Receive Funding Through the South Carolina DSS Materials/Health & Safety Grant?
This grant is for anyone operating a licensed or license-exempt child care facility in the state of South Carolina. This can include in-home and private facilities.
How Much Grant Funding Is Available?
The amount of grant funding available to you depends on the licensed capacity of your facility.
- Centers licensed for 100+ children can receive up to $60,000.
- Centers licensed for 50-99 children can receive up to $50,000.
- Centers licensed for 49 or fewer children can receive up to $40,000.
- Licensed-exempt programs (ABC Quality) can receive up to $35,000.
- Family and group child care homes can receive up to $8,000.
What Can I Purchase With the South Carolina DSS Materials/Health & Safety Grant?
You can spend your grant funds on items and materials that improve the health and safety of children in your care. Below is a list of eligible items:
Food Service and Meal Support
- Commercial-grade kitchen equipment
- Food prep items
- Small kitchen appliances
- Child-sized tables
- Child-sized chairs
- Child-sized serving utensils and dishes
- Bird and insect houses
- Items that facilitate bird and insect watching
- Natural loose parts
- Washable raincoats
- Washable rain boots
- SC All Parks Passports
- Nature Collections and Samples
- Outdoor storage (semi-permanent)
- Adding hand washing sinks adjacent to diaper changing stations
- Replacing old, dirty, or worn carpet
- Replacing cribs
- Adding fencing to outdoor areas
- Replacing or removing old playground equipment
- Adding playground cushioning
- Maintaining ratios and group sizes
- Teacher compensation
You can also use the Materials/Health & Safety grant to fund other projects that bring your facility into compliance with health and safety regulations proposed by the SCDSS Child Care Regulations department. This grant is best spent on facility maintenance projects and educational supports that improve the health and safety of children in your care.
Reach out to our South Carolina territory rep if you need help ordering items that meet the guidelines of the Materials/Health & Safety Grant. We are happy to help with a custom quote that meets your specifications.
When Will I Receive Grant Funding and How Long Will I Have to Spend It?
To apply for the Materials/Health & Safety Grant, click here. You have until October 31, 2023, to submit your application to the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Once you do, someone from their department will notify you when/if you become an approved grant recipient. The Materials/Health & Safety Grant is a one-time funding option. Because it is non-recurring, the SC DSS will continue to disperse funds through September 2024.
What Should I Know Before Applying for the Grant?
You will need to check that you are on the list of vendors for SCEIS before applying. If your child care facility has received grants in the past or currently participates in the SC Scholarship program, it is not necessary to check your vendor status. If you have never received any payment from SC DSS Early Care and Education, you will need to get in touch with them to provide additional paperwork with your application.
To contact the SC DSS, send an email to Tameka Pauling at firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a call at 1-800-476-0199.
Where Can I Shop for Eligible Items and Materials?
Now that you know all about the South Carolina DSS Materials/Health & Safety Grant, it’s time to start shopping!
Before purchasing any outdoor play equipment with your grant funds, you will want to ensure you choose products that align with Grow Outdoors SC guidelines. If you need assistance with your outdoor play purchases, a Kaplan playground representative will be happy to help.
If you need help shopping for eligible items for your facility or classrooms, our South Carolina territory rep will be happy to assist you. She is up-to-date on all information regarding the Materials/Health & Safety Grant and will help you choose the best materials for your center and the children in your care. To connect with our South Carolina territory rep, click here.