SC ECE Program Categories
Child Care Centers operate in a non-residential setting and provide care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and/or school-age children. Care can last for all or part of the day, and classrooms are organized by age group.
These programs can operate...
- independently or as a franchise
- as a for-profit or non-profit institution
- in a faith-or school-based setting
SC-DSS classifies Centers as Licensed, Registered, or Approved. DSS Licensing professionals routinely visitCenters, which must meet state-determined basic health and safety requirements.Child Care Centers are also referred to as “day care centers", “preschools", or “nursery schools".
Group Homes offer care to mixed-age groups of 7-12 children in a residential setting. Group Homes must be licensed by SC-DSS and, like Centers, are routinely visited by DSS Licensing professionals and required to meet basic health and safety standards.
Family Child Care Homes offer care to mixed-age groups of 6 or fewer children in a residential setting. Family Child Care Homes must be licensed or regulated through SC-DSS and can have one unannounced visit by DSS Licensing professionals each year.
Exempt Programs operate with limited hours, either for four or fewer hours a day or only during school holidays or summer breaks. SC-DSS does not regulate these programs. Some examples of Exempt Programs may include but are not limited to after-school programs, summer camps, AM-only or PM-only preschool programs, and Mom’s Morning Out programs.