PRESS RELEASE - 21 February 2023

SOS Children’s Villages responds to recent media reports

13 children from Ukraine hosted by SOS Children’s Villages Russia

War puts children, and especially those without adequate parental care, in acutely vulnerable situations. We support vulnerable children on opposing sides of conflicts around the world. This is an essential but complex undertaking. Any care arrangement should be made in the best interest of the child. We are on the side of children. 

In reference to the reports in the German media, we confirm that SOS Children’s Villages International is informed that 13 children from Ukraine are currently hosted at two programme locations in Russia. To protect the safety and privacy of the children, we do not disclose the locations. SOS Children’s Villages Russia’s main goal is to protect children, no matter their origin, even when working under extremely challenging circumstances. 

We condemn any forcible removal and illegal adoption of children. We categorically refute any suggestion that SOS Children's Villages has been involved, in any way, in the alleged forcible removal of children from Ukraine. 

SOS Children’s Villages is against the use of children for political purposes. We will look into the allegations made in recent media reports. 

We are aware of the complexity of the situation, and we need to act prudently. The children were placed with foster families by the local authorities. The foster parents were recruited and employed by the Russian authorities. SOS Children's Villages Russia hosts the foster families and provides psychosocial support for the children and their foster families. 

SOS Children’s Villages works worldwide to enable children to grow up with the bonds they need to develop and become their strongest selves. When a child cannot stay with their family of origin, we always try to ensure that the support offered is in the child’s best interest. We speak up for each child’s rights and advocate for change so all children can grow up in a supportive environment. All of the members of the SOS Children’s Villages federation are guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

SOS Children’s Villages Russia has worked in Russia for more than 25 years and currently has more than 600 children in their direct care. SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine has been active for almost 20 years and in the past year has supported more than 74,000 children since the start of the war. 

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