SOS families provide stable, secure and loving care in a family setting for children who have lost their parents or cannot live with their biological family.
We believe children should grow up with their families. Yet sometimes, despite every effort to care for their children, families break down and it is in the child's best interest to be placed in alternative care. At SOS Children's Villages, we believe that care in a family setting is the best option.
With the help of sponsors, donors and community partners, SOS Children's Villages builds SOS families for children who have lost parental care and who need long-term alternative care.
SOS Children’s Villages has been providing quality alternative care since 1949. More than 164,000 children have grown up, or are currently growing, in a loving family environment in an SOS family.
The SOS family
In a family home, depending on local norms between four and ten children grow up with an SOS parent, and sisters and brothers in their own house. SOS aunts support SOS parents in caring for their children.
SOS families provide individualised care and promote the development, education and health of each child. Girls and boys of different ages live together. Every effort is made to keep biological siblings together.
Children grow within their SOS families until they are mature enough to lead independent lives or until they can be reintegrated into their biological families again.
Children of different ages grow up together in SOS families. Photo: Danielle Pereira
The SOS parent
SOS families are headed by a professionally trained caregiver, who creates emotionally stable and resilient relationships in a nurturing and secure home. In most cases this is an SOS mother but in some countries, fathers or couples head an SOS family.
The SOS parent is responsible for guiding the family according to professional childcare standards. They receive the required support from the SOS village director and other co-workers.
SOS mothers are professionally trained to take care of children. Photo: Claire Ladavicius
SOS families may live in homes side by side in a single 'village' location, or they may live separately, in homes located throughout the greater community.
There are over 550 SOS Children's Villages communities in more than 100 countries and territories around the world.
SOS families share experiences and assist each other. This network of mutual support is important even where SOS families are dispersed within a town or city. A caring and supportive environment is created, which is especially important for children who need special support and protection.
All the children and young people in SOS families have access to quality education from kindergarten through university or vocational training. Together with our partners, SOS Children's Villages also provides children and young people with access to non-formal education through child group activities, play, tutoring and stimulating informal education environments that support a child’s development.
Quality health care is also ensured for all children in the care of SOS families.
The community plays an important part in the well-being of a child. Photo: Claire Ladavicius
We work in 134 countries around the globe. Find out more about where we help.
Read more about the global impact we have on the lives of children and families.