“Either I leave my child in an orphanage, or we both starve” – Behind the Social Creches supporting parents in Moldova

Thanks to your donations, our partners recently opened their tenth ‘Social Creche’ in Moldova. Read on to hear Dr Liliana Rotaru, Director of CCF Moldova, explain how this innovative service is bringing strength back to family.

For over a decade, our partners CCF Moldova have been at the helm of the Social Creches. These community childcare facilities offer free support to vulnerable families, families with children at risk of being placed in orphanages. 

Now, our Social Creche model is growing, keeping families together throughout Moldova. Our team sets them up, before passing the reigns to local authorities who fund and operate them. Thanks to your continued support, these creches are getting children off the path to orphanages and back to family. 

Will you help bring millions of separated children back to family? Donate today.

CCF Moldova’s Social Creches provide life-changing services to the most vulnerable families.
CCF Moldova / Hope and Homes for Children

Why were the Social Creches started?

The Social Creches were started in 2011 in Chișinău. 

Dr. Liliana Rotaru, Director of CCF Moldova, remembers the sad conversation that led to its creation.

“We were working with seven mums, five of whom had very young babies. They were single mums with no support from their families. All of them said the same thing to us, ‘we have no choice. Either I leave my child in an orphanage and go abroad to earn some money, or we both starve.” 

Struggling with unemployment or poverty, many parents around the world feel pressured to place their children in orphanages.
CCF Moldova / Hope and Homes for Children

In Moldova, accessing support for child care is a huge challenge. State childcare only starts at three years old. Until then, many parents struggle. 

“If you’re a single parent and you don’t have resources to pay for private child care, or if you don’t have extended family who can help, then how do you live?”, explains Pete Garratt, our Director of Global Programmes.  

Many parents in Moldova feel pressured to move across the border to Russia to earn money. They leave their children in orphanages, hoping one day they’ll be able to take them back. But all too often, that day never comes. And children lose their childhoods inside orphanages.

This is just one of many reasons why 80% of children in orphanages aren’t even orphans. They have families. Families who just needed support. 

Opening the first Social Creche 

With support from the local Child Protection Department, CCF Moldova opened the first Social Creche in a local community building. 

Each of those mums Liliana’s team were working with, who were once forced to choose between food and family, finally had help to keep their children at home. They were able to leave their children in the morning, go to work to earn money, then pick them up at the end of the day. Many of the parents didn’t even know this was a service that existed.

Social Creches give working parents a chance to support their family while establishing financial independence.
CCF Moldova / Hope and Homes for Children

Since then, our team has opened ten similar Social Creches across Moldova. As of April 2024, 577 children have attended our creches. That’s 577 children supported to stay at home. Where they belong. 

Opening a creche in Rezina County 

This year, our team opened the newest Social Creche in Rezina County. In collaboration with the local Mayor, Town Council and Child Protection Department, the Social Creche currently provides care for nine local children.  

Ala Nosatii, Programme Manager, explains how essential the centre has become to the community since opening in March. 

“It’s all about the needs of the family. Kindergarten is expensive. You need nappies, clothes, food and school supplies. But the parents we support don’t have any resources.” 

To support these parents, the creche ensures their children have everything they need during the day. This gives parents the chance to find employment, earn money, and strengthen their families for the future. And, most importantly, it’s giving the children the chance to get a solid start in life. Today,

“The creche is wonderful,” says Ala proudly. “Not all of these children have toys and food in their house. But now, they’re fed, happy and playing together.” 

“Happy, fed and playing together” – Staff taking care of children attending our Social Creche in Rezina County – all of whom are being supported to stay with their families, instead of being wrongfully sent to an orphanage.
CCF Moldova / Hope and Homes for Children

What’s next?

Eleven years since creating this model, our creche system has been recognised by UNICEF and received both domestic and international awards. Now, Liliana’s team is supporting it to grow even further. 

“It’s not just enough to have a pilot project, even ten creches,” says Liliana. “We need to help authorities to develop more creches by themselves.” 

Now, our team is creating a toolkit so the Moldovan government can carry the torch. Already, they’ve supported the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to develop new policies and will continue to assist with costing and licensing. Eventually, this will mean Local Public authorities can replicate our social creche model. All across the country.

CCF Moldova celebrating their 20th Anniversary in Chișinău, April 2024.
CCF Moldova / Hope and Homes for Children

The Social Creches are just one way your donations are helping children in Moldova. Donate today and help bring strength back to family.