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South Carolina
Alternative Methodology

Background and Overview

The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) is working with Prenatal to Five Fiscal Strategies (P5FS) to design and implement a new approach to setting child care subsidy rates. Rather than relying on a survey of current child care tuition prices, this 'alternative methodology' instead gathers financial and programmatic data from child care providers to inform a child care cost model.  This cost model can help better understand how much it costs to deliver early care and education that meets state standards and compensates the workforce sufficiently. 

For more information about the study, click below.

Provider Engagement

Input from all types of early care and education providers is a central component of the alternative methodology process and P5FS is committed to ensuring provider voice is represented in the cost study and cost model. ​


There are multiple opportunities for child care providers to share their input, including through an online survey, virtual input sessions, and one-on-one interviews. More information about these opportunities is available via the link below. 

Share your Input

Study Process

South Carolina's alternative methodology is following the process established by P5FS and sucessfully implemented in other states who have used a cost model to inform CCDF subsidy rate setting.  The process includes five steps, as detailed in this graphic. 


More information will be posted on this page soon. There will be opportunities for child care providers to participate in the study and ensure their voice is heard as part of this important change to how subsidy rates will be determined. Stay tuned! 

What is alternative methodology?

The term 'alternative methodology' is used to describe an approach to informing subsidy rate setting under the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Historically, market prices (tuition rates) have been used to inform subsidy rates, but the alternative methodology approach uses a cost estimation model or cost study. For more information on this approach see the one pager linked below.  


Contact Us

For more information or to contact the study team please email us at 

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