SCDSS - Serving Children and Families



Child Care Licensing

Child Care for Your Child - Making the Right Choice

With more and more parents working outside the home, the need for child care is increasing. Before you leave your child in child care, you need to be sure that they will be in a safe facility with a trained, caring and nurturing staff. You should also make a choice that is right for your child's needs. This brochure is designed to help parents make the best decision


Children will do better in a setting that is most comfortable for them. Some need a smaller, more personal setting, while others thrive in a larger facility with more children. There are three types of child care facilities from which to choose:

A Family Child Care Home has no more than six children and is most similar to a family situation.
A Group Child Care Home can care for up to twelve children.
A Child Care Center has thirteen or more children and is more likely to offer planned group activities.

All facilities that care for children are required to be licensed, approved or registered by the Department of Social Services. Copies of these documents should be displayed in the facilities or available to you upon request.


Before enrolling your child, make an appointment to spend some time at the facility observing programs and asking questions. If an operator does not allow you to visit before you leave your child, do not use their facility. If possible, also let your child visit the facility before you make a final decision.



  • Is the building clean and safe?
  • Is play equipment sturdy, safe and accessible?
  • Is the space adequate for the number of children?
  • Can the facility meet any special needs that your child may have?


  • Is there enough staff and are they actively supervising the children?
  • Are the staff trained in child development, as well as safety, emergency, and first aid procedures?
  • Do staff relate well with the children, parents and other staff?

Parent Involvement

  • Are parents allowed to visit the facility at any time? Parents should be allowed unlimited access.
  • Are parents encouraged to be involved in the activities of the facility?
  • Are there parent-staff meetings?
  • Are policies available for review?

Programs and Activities

  • Is the daily schedule posted?
  • Are groups of children appropriate for their age: infants and toddlers separated from older children in larger facilities - planned activities for each age group?
  • Is the weekly menu posted?
  • Are meals and snacks balanced, varied and nutritious?
  • Is there a good balance of indoor and outdoor activities, active and quiet play?
  • Are appropriate materials and equipment which contribute to growth and development easily accessible to the children?
  • Are the children happily engaged or just lingering about?
  • Is mealtime pleasant?
  • Are infants held individually for feeding?
  • Is appropriate discipline used with the children? Remember, physical punishment is not allowed without parent's written permission.


Any complaints or concerns that you have about the child care facility should be discussed with the facility director. However, if you feel that your child has been abused or neglected, if you think that there are problems with the facility that place children in danger you should report this to your regional or state Department of Social Services office. [Regional Offices]

To report suspected abuse or neglect call Child Protective Services at (803) 898-7318.

To report problems with child care facilities, policies or practices call Child Care Licensing at (803) 898-7345.

For further information, contact one of the DSS Child Care Licensing and Regulatory Services offices.

In accordance with Title VI, Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title V, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the South Carolina Department of Social Services will administer its programs in such a manner that no person shall solely by reason of their race, color, national origin or qualified handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity administered by the department. For more information contact your county or regional Department of Social Services.


Leigh Bolick, Director

Child Care Services

Rita Paul, Director

Child Care Licensing and Regulatory Services

Gary Rice, Program Manager

Child Care Licensing and Regulatory Services

Mailing Address:

South Carolina

Department of Social Services

2638 Two Notch Road, Suite 200

Columbia, South Carolina 29204


(803) 898-9020


(803) 898-9029


South Carolina Department of Social Services

P.O. Box 1520 ? Columbia, SC 29202-1520

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