South Carolina's Birth through Five Plan will build a coherent framework for South Carolina’s collective efforts to strengthen the early childhood system. It will bring together various strategic planning efforts conducted over the past five years into a bold, comprehensive, actionable strategy for the state that includes joint interagency commitments. The plan will cover Birth through Five with a discrete section focused on Birth through Three.
South Carolina’s Early Childhood Advisory Council is responsible for the development of this plan. Building on an intensive statewide early childhood needs assessment that includes more than 5000 voices, the Birth Through Five Plan is being developed by state leaders with input from community stakeholders. The Early Childhood Advisory Council has engaged Community Building Institute, led by Bill Potapchuck and Mary Beth Salomone Testa from MBST Solutions to facilitate the strategic planning process.
The groundwork for the collaborative plan gives voice to the many participants heard in the SC Needs Assessment Report, a document produced using Preschool Development Grant Birth-5 funds to understand statewide priorities for South Carolina's young children and their families. Three data collection strategies, which engaged more than 5,000 people, were used to determine statewide priorities /needs:
- 15 regional meetings were held across the state with 440 participants
- online survey that garnered 3,114 responses focused on priorities of parents/caregivers
- approximately 130 focus groups engaging more than 1,495 people with each South Carolina county focused on engaging families/ caregivers and young children.
Participants in the regional meetings provided input in the development of four goals and related objectives in each of three areas:
- Early learning and development
- Health and well-being
- Family and community
Surveys and focus groups allowed researchers to triangulate data within the same three areas to determine trends across data collection methods to inform the statewide priorities.