“I am grateful to Spartanburg County First Steps and its role in helping children enter school ready to learn. It is a privilege to serve with such dedicated professionals focused on meeting the needs of the young children and their families in the community.”

Kim McAbee, Ph.D. | Curriculum Specialist, Spartanburg School District 4

In the Community

First Steps of South Carolina functions as 46 First Steps partnerships, one per county, that are “responsible for meeting local needs and identifying collaborative opportunities to help our state’s youngest learners.”

Here’s how we’re currently meeting the needs of Spartanburg’s youngest learners.

Community Roots

Identifying the potential of the public-private partnership, Spartanburg County First Steps and the Mary Black Foundation worked together to create a solution designed for Spartanburg County to address school readiness. The result was the development, pilot, and implementation of Quality Counts, a program dedicated to recognizing excellence in early care and education.

Community Impact
  • Every Monday-Friday, more than 2000 children in child care, birth to 5 years of age, benefit from quality enhanced learning environments.
  • More than 400 directors and teachers are invested in a Quality Improvement Plan.
  • Thirty-six early care and education programs collectively received more than 1900 hours of technical assistance from highly qualified Quality Counts technical assistance providers.
Community Outlook

Practice and policy implications from four decades of research make it clear that by creating and implementing effective early childhood programs, like Quality Counts does, we can provide children with a solid foundation that will result in a productive future and in turn build a stronger, more prosperous community!

Community Roots

Early Head Start (EHS) was reauthorized by the Head Start Act in 1994 as program designed to serve infants and toddlers under the age of 3 and pregnant women through comprehensive child development and family services. Spartanburg’s EHS is one of 23 South Carolina State Head Start Association programs currently assisting 13,000 low-income pre-school children state-wide.

Community Impact
  • Parents involved in EHS read to their children a total of 310 hours this year.
  • 26,238 nutritious meals were served in First Steps EHS centers.
  • 1351 home visits were completed with EHS families.
  • 996 parent engagement events were held on various topics related to child wellness.
Community Outlook

The Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (1996-2010) found that EHS children engaged their parents more and were more attentive to objects during play. EHS parents were found to be more emotionally supportive and more likely to read to their child every day. Cycles are being broken and stronger communities are emerging.

Community Roots

In 2008, Nurse-Family Partnership of South Carolina opened NFP sites in both Spartanburg and Union counties. In April 2009, both sites officially began serving first-time, at risk mothers and their babies.

Community Impact
  • 437 first-time mothers (and counting!) have been assisted since April 2009.
  • 313 babies (and counting!) have been born into the program since April 2009.
  • Across South Carolina, 48% of mothers who entered NFP without high school diplomas or GEDS are working to attain theirs, and 9.4% have attained theirs since 2008.
Community Outlook

Over 35 years of research proves that NFP works: if eligible first-time moms follow the program and work with their nurses, they can transform their lives and the lives of their children. And independent policy research has shown that for every dollar communities invest in NFP, they could see more than five dollars in return.