At SOS Children’s Villages, we do whatever it takes to ensure that each child and young person grows up with the bonds and healthy relationships they need to become their strongest selves and thrive in the future. Our locally led operations in more than 130 countries and territories work to strengthen families experiencing hardship so they can stay together. When staying with their family is not in a child or young person’s best interest, we provide them with quality care and support adapted to their unique needs, experiences and culture. All alternative care options we support, are guided by and in line with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care for Children to which we made key contributions in the development process. 

We believe that truly bonding with a child, as a parent, sibling, caregiver or mentor, has the power to change their world. Our work centres around the strength of human connection and focuses on showing children and young people that they belong no matter who they are. A positive and supportive childhood empowers children to develop the life skills, resilience and support networks they need to set personal goals and move confidently into self-reliant adulthood. 

Types of alternative care we support

Family-like care provides individualized care and promotes the development, education and health of each child and young person. Girls and boys of different ages live together in small groups resembling an autonomous family.  Every effort is made to keep biological siblings together. 

Children are cared for by members of their extended families, older siblings, or even family friends. We support kinship care through family strengthening programmes

A care arrangement whereby a child or young person is formally placed in the domestic care of one or two adults acting as foster parent(s). Foster care is integrated and supported in SOS Children’s Villages in various ways, including:

  • Parents in SOS Children’s Village families become official foster parents, making them eligible for financial support from the state. 

  • Setting up and running foster family networks, where foster families either live in their own homes or in a home provided by SOS Children’s Villages.

  • Providing support services to existing foster families, including training and counselling.

  • Working with partners, such as community-based organisations, to develop foster care solutions.  

Care provided to small groups of children or young people, by professional child and youth care workers working on a shift or rotational basis. Usually, there is a focus on returning the child or young person to their family.

Places of safety in situations when a child or young person needs to be removed, at short notice, from the care of his or her family. They are cared for by child and youth care practitioners. This is a temporary arrangement while the causes of family separation are assessed and addressed.

Homes where both mother and child can stay on a short-term basis, while the mother is being empowered to adequately protect and care for her child.

Facilities where children and young people live while waiting for placement in a suitable alternative care setting or while receiving support in integrating into the community.

Promoting standards of care

We promote and ensure quality alternative care. We work with governments, care professionals and partners to help ensure that children's and young people’s rights are fulfilled and every child and young person has the best, most suitable care and support for their specific individual needs.

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