Our Programs

County Partnership Programs »

Program Description Thank you to our PAT partners! Dorchester County Libraries ABC Quality Child Care Center partners Baby Net Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an evidence-based home visiting program designed to build strong communities, thriving families and children who are healthy, safe and ready to succeed. PAT services include:

  1. Personal Visits at least twice monthly
  2. Monthly Group Connections with other PAT families
  3. Screenings and Assessments to identify developmental concerns
  4. Connections to Outside Resources that families may need to succeed
childcare quality enhancement
First Steps’ parent home visitation strategies are designed to equip adult clients with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote the school readiness, healthy development and long-term success of their preschool-aged children.

  1. Personal Visits at least twice monthly
  2. Monthly Group Connections with other PCH families
  3. Screenings and Assessments to identify developmental concerns
  4. Connections to Outside Resources that families may need to succeed


Countdown to Kindergarten (CTK) is a summer home visitation model connecting rising kindergartners and their families with their future teachers. The program is designed:

  • to forge strong and lasting home-school relationships,
  • to acquaint children and families with the state and classroom expectations to increase the likelihood of school success,
  • to increase parent involvement in the early grades (particularly in hard-to-reach communities), when children’s learning is foundational for life success; and
  • to increase public awareness of the importance of school readiness and provide ways for parents and communities to impact children’s early school success.

Countdown to Kindergarten integrates all of the following:

Home Visitation. Teachers make six visits over the summer to the homes of participating students and families. Children and families are introduced to actual materials used in kindergarten and are given a Kindergarten Transition Toolkit to keep.

Learning Celebration. The last visit is a “field trip” to the school where the child will attend class in the fall.

Public Awareness. Throughout the summer, First Steps releases tips to media to help parents and caregivers get children ready for kindergarten.

First Steps’ Early Identification and Referral (EI&R) programs serve families with young children with suspected delays in development and coordinates public awareness for BabyNet services, acting as a local portal to connect families to community-based services they may need or desire to ensure the school readiness of their children EI&R services include:

  1. Screenings (developmental, vision, hearing) for children ages birth to 5 years with suspected delays in development
  2. Referrals, based up the screening results, to appropriate community resources. This could include the local BabyNet System Point of Entry Office, the local school district, and/or support services such as speech therapy, physical therapy, and programs in libraries and other community resources.
  3. Parent information including strategies to monitor growth and development.

Our EI&R program:

 Provides early detection of developmental delays and health issues

 Promotes services and activities that promote child development

 Increases children’s school readiness and school success



Childcare Training               register now

High-quality child care hinges on high-quality professional development that meets the needs of the local child care workforce. First Steps-sponsored training is certified through the SC Center for Child Care Career Development and includes topics in the areas of nutrition, health and safety, curriculum, child guidance, professional development and program administration. Best practices in training include not only the training itself, but follow-up in the classroom.

familyliteracyDorchester County First Steps has created over 170 Literacy Kits which are housed in the both Dorchester County Libraries. In 2020 we are expanding the Literacy Kits to select QE classes. Teachers will receive a Theme-based Literacy Kit filled with a book related to the theme and toys, activities and lessons for the children. Each month children will receive a book related to the theme for their personal library. Parents will be coached on how to help their child read the book as well.

State Programs »


Permanently established by the SC Read to Succeed Act in 2014, the SC Child Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP) provides full-day four-year-old-kindergarten programs in 64 South Carolina school districts.  Enrollment is offered at no cost to eligible children.

In addition to the offerings of the state’s public school districts, SC First Steps offers parents the opportunity to enroll their eligible children with more than 200 private, faith- and community-based preschool providers statewide.