SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Latvia).

The Republic of Latvia is a Baltic country with a rapidly declining population, currently around 1.9 million people. Approximately 72% of the population is ethnically Latvian, while the remaining 28% is made up mostly of Russians, but also Belarusians and Ukrainians. The capital city, Riga is home to around one third of Latvia's inhabitants. Latvia is one of the poorest countries within the European Union.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Latvia since 1997.

Children are at risk

Constituting approximately 19% of the population, Latvia is home to around 350,000 children. Latvian children report some of the lowest levels with regard to getting emotional support from family and peers. More than one in three children feel they receive no family support, one in four that they do not have enough friends with whom to spend time, and one in ten that they have bad relationships with their peers. This data raises concerns about the proper care, and possible neglect, of children.
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Children are at risk of poverty


More than 26% of the population, almost 500,000 people, are vulnerable to poverty, while 20% of children, almost 70,000 under 18, are at risk. However, 38% of Latvian households with children report that it is difficult to make ends meet, which rises to more than 50% for single-parent households. Children living in poverty are more likely to experience a wide range of health problems, as well as face the impacts of financial and emotional strain on families.

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Children underachieving in key subjects

Student overload

Despite having small class sizes, Latvia has a high proportion of low-performing students and a high rate of truancy. At 15 years old, around 20% of students are underachieving in the areas of reading, maths, and science. More than half of children report feeling overloaded and tired at school, and almost 10% are bullied. A poor educational background can worsen prospects for future employment, limiting a child’s prospects.

Children deprived of parental care

Children in need of care

Latvia lacks quality social services to prevent family breakdown. In a year, at least 6,500 children are reportedly deprived of parental care in Latvia, and 15% of children in care remain in institutions. Without individual and child-focused care, children in institutional environments are more likely to suffer from poor physical and mental health, underdevelopment, and developmental delay. They also face emotional challenges and a lack of trust in themselves and others.

Together we can make a difference for children in Latvia

Can stay together
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages works to protect the rights and privacy of children. As you may notice, we do not show any identifiable photos of children in general information about Latvia. This is because we have limited permission from the children and/or their legal guardians (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Latvia).

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives