SC governor signs First Steps bill at State House
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster held a ceremonial signing of a bill that permanently reauthorizes South Carolina’s First Steps program.
McMaster signed State House bill H.4023 at the State House Thursday surrounded by supporters as well as some of the young children who have already or may benefit from the program.
South Carolina First Steps is an initiative designed to make sure all children can start school ready to reach their highest potential. The bill also restructures local First Steps partnership boards.
“South Carolina First Steps has been a tremendous asset for our state and has helped South Carolina become a leader in early childhood education,” McMaster said before the signing. “With this legislation, we reaffirm our commitment to building a strong early childhood education system and further ensure our children enter school ready to learn, setting them and our state up for a bright future.”
The General Assembly created First Steps in 1999 under the First Steps to School Readiness Act. That law made South Carolina the third state in the nation to establish a comprehensive, statewide public-private partnership for early childhood education, he said.
Georgia Mjartan, the executive director of South Carolina First Steps, has said access to early learning is important for First Steps and filling in gaps where there are needs.
“For more than two decades, First Steps has been a lifeline to families with young children, ensuring that from birth through age five, they are supported in providing their children with the best possible start in life,” Georgia Mjartan, the executive director of South Carolina First Steps, said. “Today, with this landmark legislation, South Carolina families can be assured that our support is unwavering. First Steps is here to stay.”
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