From 2010 to 2015 the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță pilot program expanded from 13 to 45 communities in eleven counties.
|FCG Expansion Timeline|
|2010||OvR initiates the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță (FCG) program in partnership with The Ministry of Education. Thirteen pilot communities are selected through a national application process.|
|“Școala te face mare" awareness campaign features Andreea Esca, Horea Brenciu, Margareta Paslaru & Ethan Hawke.|
|2011||OvR extends FCG to 20 communities, reaching 1300 children, and sets goal to turn FCG elements into public policy by 2020.|
|2012||OvR’s public awareness campaign "Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță" stresses the importance of early education.|
|Nine Ambassadors to Romania form the 'Ambassadors’ Early Education Initiative 2012-2020'' to show their support of early education for all as a key contributor to the school success of disadvantaged children.|
|2013||FCG reaches 2100 children. OvR signs partnership with the Ministry of Education to analyze the impact of FCG.|
|2014||EEA grant fuels expansion in Brasov, Dambovita & Dolj.|
|Cluj is the first county to cover the FCG food coupon incentives from its county budget. Inter-Ministerial Task Force is created to prepare the way for scaling up FCG nationally.|
|FCG reaches 2400 children in 11 counties. OvR, Ministries of Ed & Labor sign agreement paving the way for national expansion of FCG.|
|March||Law is proposed by MP Daniel Constantin, to clear the legislative framework pertaining to tichete sociale. Minister of Labor, Rovana Plumb, visits FCG program in Dâmbovița.|
|June||Bill passes Senate.|
|7 Oct||Parliament passes the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță Law (no. 248/2015) with full support from all major political parties: 289 votes in favor, 1 against and 5 abstentions. The The law provides that parents living under the poverty line can receive food coupons worth €11 PER MONTH if their child attends preschool every day.|
|28 Oct||President Klaus Iohannis signs Law 248/2015. Government allocates €12.3 million to cover the cost of food coupons for 111,000 chlldren living in poverty.|
|December||OvR helps draft the secondary legislation for Law 248/2015 to codify who would be responsible for: the daily attendance, the steps for applying for the program, the mechanism for distributing the money to the local authorities and the food coupons to parents.|
|Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos visits FCG program with new Education and Labor Ministers.|
|9 Jan||Secondary Legislation for Law no. 248/2015 is published in Monitorul Oficial|
|OvR organizes national caravan to all 41 counties to inform public authorities about the Every Child in Preschool legislative package.|
Why it Works
Like many of the best programs, FCG originated “bottom-up” – as a joint venture between an NGO (OvidiuRo), local authorities and neighborhood schools – to address the widespread phenomenon of early school abandonment that was rampant in many poor rural communities. The authorities knew this was a serious problem but they had neither a long-term strategy nor the resources to tackle it.
Many communities had benefited sporadically from short-term outside grants but most of these programs terminated as soon as the outside funds ran out, and therefore never lasted long enough to take root in the community or to make any measurable difference in student outcomes. Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță was different from these other programs in four basic ways:
- Significant investment from the local authorities: The local council was required to provide at least €35 per child for school clothes.
- Long-term commitment from OvidiuRo: It was clear that OvR was there to help develop and sustain the programs, not just to check their invoices.
- Medium-term management transition plan: In 2014, OvR introduced a process to wean well-functioning programs from management dependence on OvR, making 13 communities “autonomous” (i.e., local coordinators made all program decisions, while still providing quarterly reports to OvR) and eight communities semi-autonomous. (OvR continued to monitor and audit attendance records but local coordinators make local day-to-day decisions.)
- Positive word of mouth: The success of the pilot programs piqued the interest of other communities and county authorities, enabling the program to grow organically in the first few years.
Program participation is based solely on family income, not ethnicity. Nonetheless, the majority of families that qualify due to extreme poverty are Roma, although most do not identify as Roma on government census forms.