Four SC school districts join First Five SC to simplify access to early childhood programs

The statewide platform has earned national recognition for helping families find and enroll in programs and services for children ages 0-5.

Columbia, Allendale, Beaufort, and York, SC – The SC Early Childhood Advisory Council has partnered with four local school districts to make it easier for families to access programs that promote their child’s development and prepare them for success when they start kindergarten.

The four districts—Allendale County Schools, Beaufort County School District, Williamsburg County School District, and York School District 1—are the first in the state to add their early childhood programs to the First Five SC common application. Available at, the application allows South Carolinians to apply for various early childhood programs, including those offered by school districts and multiple state agencies, through a single, user-friendly platform.

First Five SC has earned national recognition for its innovative approach to connecting families with needed services. The ECAC initially launched the platform in 2022 as a tool for parents and caregivers to check their child’s eligibility for more than 40 programs available across South Carolina. In May 2023, the site expanded to include a common application, streamlining the process to apply for multiple programs or include additional children – all from a smart phone or computer.

“Navigating public programs and services for young children can be confusing and overwhelming, which can prevent families from accessing the resources they want and need," said Georgia Mjartan, the executive director of South Carolina First Steps and the Early Childhood Advisory Council. "First Five SC makes this process much simpler, easing the burden on parents and ensuring that children have the opportunities they deserve."

In the past year alone, First Five SC has attracted over 137,000 visitors. Of those who checked their eligibility, 78% were eligible for at least one program, and more than 2,500 applications have been submitted.

Looking ahead, there are plans to expand partnerships to include more districts and additional publicly funded programs to the First Five SC common application.

"The goal is to continue enhancing the platform based on feedback from families, ensuring it meets the evolving needs of South Carolina’s youngest children. South Carolina's schools are crucial partners in this effort, and their commitment to integrating these services shows a dedication to putting families first," said Mjartan.

First Five SC is an official website of the State of South Carolina. Development of the portal was led by the Early Childhood Advisory Council.

About the SC Early Childhood Advisory Council

The SC Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) is the state’s primary collaborative body for the healthy development and education of children prenatal through age five. Established in state law, the council brings together elected officials, agency directors, early childhood educators, healthcare providers, business and community leaders, and parents to facilitate a coordinated and family-centered early childhood system. The ECAC is staffed and operated by South Carolina First Steps.

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