South Carolina’s Early Childhood Advisory Council is a collaborative body representing the state’s early childhood system. Established in state statute, the Early Childhood Advisory Council includes the directors of state agencies, elected officials, state-level early childhood leaders, members of the business and medical communities, parents and early childhood educators.
We will be successful when all children reach their highest potential.
- South Carolina’s children arrive at school ready to reach their highest potential.
- South Carolina's youngest children are healthy and safe.
- South Carolina’s youngest children are actively supported by their families and communities.
- South Carolina’s Early Childhood System is aligned, coordinated, and family centered.
The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 required governors to designate or establish a State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care to improve the quality, availability, and coordination of services for children from birth to school entry.
Pursuant to this Federal Act, the South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council was established by Executive Order in 2010. The provisions were later enacted into state law in 2014. On June 19, 2023 Governor Henry McMaster signed H. 4023 into law, permanently authorizing South Carolina First Steps. In addition to authorization, this law also updated the membership and duties of the South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council. The current governing language can be found below and in S.C. Code Ann. Sections 63-11-1725 and 63-11-1726.
ECAC member agencies providing services to young children include: the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, Department of Education, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Mental Health, Department of Social Services, Children’s Trust of South Carolina, and the state’s Head Start Collaboration Office. SC First Steps is responsible for coordinating the activities of the Council. For a graphic showing the sources and funding flow of the state's public early childhood service, click here.