Drawing on our 70 years of programme expertise, SOS Children’s Villages speaks out for and with children and young people to protect their rights on the global, regional and national level. Our advocacy work is designed to change policy and practice to improve national child and family welfare systems. Since 2015, we have contributed to improved public policies and laws in 65 countries.

In 2020, we saw the urgent need to make sure that children and families’ realities are part of all pandemic-related policy debates. We called on governments to scale up social protection and family support services, enhance support to care leavers, and ensure that quality care is not jeopardized and basic services such as education not interrupted. With partners, we drafted policy positions, issued joint calls to actions and developed guidance on provision of alternative care in humanitarian crises to influence high-level fora and debates, such as the UN General Assembly Special Session on COVID-19.
One of our main objectives is to help decision makers understand that investing in strengthening families can often prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their parents, other forms of harm and the need for additional alternative care placements. In 2020, an increasing number of our member associations engaged in the Universal Periodic Review of human rights implementation and in country reviews of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, thereby providing recommendations to states on how to support families to stay together.


The first-ever International Care Leavers Convention took place virtually in November. The event gave young people ageing out of care the chance to connect and strategize about how best to get their voices heard by policymakers worldwide.


delegates at the 2020 International Care Leavers Convention


We advocate for a range of quality alternative care services according to each child’s individual needs. This year, we worked on a national and global scale to promote the implementation of the 2019 UN Resolution on the Rights of the Child, focusing on children without parental care. This included strategic engagement with member associations and targeted use of user-friendly materials. Among other efforts, a two-year project by the Tracking Progress Initiative was launched in January 2020. The project, underway in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia, is focused on assessing how national policies, frameworks and procedures are in line with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. The overall aim is to strengthen evidence-based alternative care policies through improved child protection information management systems.


13-year old Fasika,* in her role as Charity and Development Wing Minister, leads a discussion with other child parliament members from an SOS Children’s Village in Ethiopia.

Without our voice, any work done for us is worthless.

Central African Republic: SOS Children’s Villages actively participated in the development of the Child Protection Code, adopted by the National Assembly in June 2020. Based on our advocacy efforts, the Code also sets standards for the provision of alternative care.
Latvia: In Latvia, we engaged with the Ministry of Social Affairs to develop legislation on foster care. The legislation addresses the role of NGOs in providing foster care and legally defines this new type of social service.
Vietnam: Our member association in Vietnam influenced a range of policy processes, including contributing to six national action plans for child care and protection as well as establishing a formal three-year collaboration with the country’s Department of Child Affairs.
The European Commission developed an EU Child Rights strategy, mainstreaming children’s rights into all policy areas to advance child rights within the EU and worldwide. To ensure that the realities of children without parental care and those living in families facing difficulties were reflected, SOS Children’s Villages initiated a global consultation with children and youth. We asked for the views of children and young people in residential care as well as in our family strengthening programmes. The outcomes of the consultation were shared with the European Commission and considered in the strategy development process.



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