State Initiative

South Carolina Launches Web Portal for Families

Feb 23, 2022

Navigating services can be a heavy lift for families with infants and toddlers. Most states offer an array of services, and accessing them sometimes requires visits to multiple offices and a variety of websites. To alleviate that stress, in December 2021, sixty South Carolina early childhood programs across ten different state agencies launched First Five SC.

Navigating services can be a heavy lift for families with infants and toddlers. Most states offer an array of services, and accessing them sometimes requires visits to multiple offices and a variety of websites. To alleviate that stress, in December 2021, sixty South Carolina early childhood programs across ten different state agencies launched First Five SC. This portal, the first of its kind in the state, allows families to explore resources that are available to support children ages zero to five, regardless of where they live. It also offers instant feedback on eligibility for over forty of those programs, including early intervention, Early Head Start, WIC, and Strengthening Families. Finally, families can use the portal to contact programs and find local service providers.

The portal evolved over 9 months as leaders in the initiative met to determine common eligibility, worked with stakeholders, and facilitated a test group made up of families, leaders, and program staff to ensure an effective end-user experience. Through careful consideration of user experience and human-centered design principles, as well as mapping availability by county, the team was able to simplify the search and screening process to less than ten minutes and five screening tools on the portal. The initiative is funded through the state’s Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five and the SC Early Childhood Advisory Council will provide ongoing enhancements and maintenance in years to come.

To learn more about how state systems continue to streamline services, watch your email for our upcoming release of Strengthening Connections: State Approaches to Connecting Families to Services.

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