We work with states and partners to help ensure that children and young people who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing it are protected, cared for and supported, ensuring that their rights are recognized and respected.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, and other international frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals are the foundations of our programme and advocacy work.

Universal children's rights

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), adopted in 1989, guarantees universal fundamental rights for all children in the world. It has been ratified by 196 countries and is a global framework for children’s rights.


The right to quality alternative care

For more than 70 years, SOS Children’s Villages has worked to help children and young people who have lost parental care, or who are at risk of losing it. The UNCRC recognizes that these children have special rights to protection and quality care under articles 20, 21 and 25.

Children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care are among the  people in our communities most vulnerable to violations of their human rights. We promote and are guided by the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care for Children to which SOS Children’s Villages made key contributions. The guidelines were welcomed by the UN General Assembly in 2009 and serve as international standards to ensure that children without parental care, or at risk of losing it, are adequately protected and supported.

As an organization with vast experience in providing quality alternative care for children and young people, we work in partnership with governments, communities and other relevant stakeholders to grow capacities to fulfil the provisions of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care for Children. This includes supporting efforts to strengthen families so children and young people can stay with their family.


Standing up for children's rights

We stand up for children’s rights so they can live in dignity and thrive:

  • We advocate for the implementation of children’s rights.
  • We raise awareness of children’s rights and the challenges children are facing.
  • We partner with other leading organizations and stakeholders to promote children’s rights to achieve the greatest possible impact for children.
  • We share knowledge and shape discussions about improvement and innovation of alternative care.