South Carolina increasing payments to child care providers

October 23, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s social services agency says it is now paying more money to providers in the program that subsidizes child care for low-income families.

The state’s Department of Social Services announced Wednesday that the agency has set up a new reimbursement rate structure for the SC Voucher program. The rates are now set based on the actual age of a child in the program, as opposed to what age group the child is in.

That rate increase means families in the program will save money by covering fewer tuition expenses, the agency said in a news release. The new reimbursement structure also puts more money in the pockets of child care providers who may have struggled financially during the pandemic.

A top-rated child care provider in the program might now receive $296 a week for full-time care of a child under 1 year old, whereas the previous rate structure would have allowed for a maximum of $205 weekly for any child up to 2 years old.

The voucher program pays for more than 11,000 children to attend child care programs each month, according to the agency website. Parents must have an income below 150% of the federal poverty level to qualify.