Who We Are - SC First Steps

Who We Are

South Carolina First Steps is the state’s only dedicated, comprehensive early childhood initiative focused on getting children ready for school and life success. We partner with families, early educators, and communities statewide to support the success of children from birth through age five.

First Steps was established in 1999 by the South Carolina General Assembly to close the gap on student's preparedness for success in school. Since the beginning, we have taken a holistic approach to accomplishing our mission, offering services that improve children’s health, strengthen families, expand access to quality early care and education, and help transition rising kindergartners into school.

Because our mission is a shared endeavor, we also mobilize partners in building a more effective and efficient early childhood state system. In our role as the connector and convener of all early childhood serving agencies, South Carolina First Steps operates the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC). Our trustees serve concurrently as ECAC members and our staff coordinates their collaborative efforts to support families and help young children thrive.



We will be successful when all children reach their highest potential.



South Carolina First Steps works collaboratively to ensure that all children start school ready to reach their highest potential with engaged support from their parents, caregivers, and communities.



Children. From prenatal development through age five, our focus and priority are young children and their families and caregivers.

Relationships. We cultivate positive, supportive, respectful, and reinforcing interactions between people that shape development, build community, increase success and productivity, foster learning and growth, and affirm the unique value of individuals, caregivers, parents and children.

Equity. We ensure all people have the opportunity and resources to be successful and that all voices are solicited and heard.

High quality. We ensure that our programs and services are culturally-responsive, inclusive, and developmentally-appropriate and are delivered with fidelity to the model being implemented. Our products, services, and operations are marked by excellence.

Results. We produce meaningful and measurable impact and outcomes.



Adopted in July 2020 by the South Carolina First Steps Board of Trustees, Every Child Ready is a five-year road map for achieving our mission and moving toward our vision of success for every child. The 2020-2025 strategic plan includes four strategic priorities, 20 objectives, 97 strategies, and 6 overarching measures of success. Collectively, they represent our commitment to South Carolina’s children, their families, and our state. Access the plan here.