Audit: Lawmakers need to define school readiness


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A state audit of South Carolina First Steps says lawmakers need to define "school readiness" and implement pre-school testing to better determine which children most need help and how to boost chances for success.

A report released Tuesday by the Legislative Audit Council finds the percentage of at-risk children in South Carolina remains high, 14 years after the agency was created.

Director Susan DeVenny says she believes the audit supports the need to continue the services First Steps provides to children from before birth through 5 years old.

The law creating the program that partners with local nonprofits is up for renewal. Legislators were awaiting the audit to determine how to proceed.

DeVenny says many of the audit's recommendations are incorporated in the reauthorization proposal, including a statewide school-readiness assessment.

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