In any society, it is the families that afford children a loving home. When raised in a caring family, the children are more likely to enjoy the cherishable facets of life: health, education, relations, identity, self-actualization, and initiative. Families are important for the children’s holistic development.
We believe that childcare must be at the heart of any development endeavor. Millions of children worldwide, including in India continue to be left behind and their rights denied. They suffer the impacts of poverty, violence, inequality, and exclusion disproportionately, due to their sensitive phase of life and development.
Healthy and happy childhood, quality education, and psycho-social well-being are foundational not only for holistic development but also to a child’s capacity to contribute meaningfully to society. Only well brought up, responsible and self-reliant adults can propel sustainable development by breaking down the circle of poverty and exclusion in the forthcoming generations.
Different circumstances call for different care options for children in need. We provide a range of alternative care solutions customized for every such child – provision of loving homes in children’s villages, strengthening vulnerable families, facilitating quality upbringing in non-biological families, protecting children during emergencies, and supporting the youth on their path to independence.
The flagship Family-Like Care Programme takes care of children, who have been separated, abandoned, or have lost parental care through group foster care from infancy to adulthood (0-23 years) until they become self-reliant. It features personalized quality care provided by a trained caregiver (SOS mother). Children are raised in a community, namely Children’s Village in a family home in the company of siblings, with all the inputs needed for their safety, development, participation, and path to independence. The lasting bonds created to contribute to better physical and mental development outcomes for children.
Families experiencing crises or extreme hardships may have difficulty caring adequately for their children, and often this can lead to child abandonment. The Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) prevents children from vulnerable families from losing parental care. We work with families and communities to help them build their capacities so that children are taken care of and their overall development does not get hampered. Interventions range from providing essential services such as education, health, and nutrition to children, capacity building of caregivers for better parenting, and for developing alternative and sustainable livelihoods.
When children are unable to live with their own families or lose them, they may go into foster care so they have somewhere to stay that is secure, safe, and nurturing. Kinship Care involves children being cared for by their extended family/next of kin or with close friends of the family known to the child. However, for a variety of reasons, this option may not become easily available.
For instance, the relatives may be extremely vulnerable themselves. Ensuring that the child is safe and adequately cared for, we empower the Kinship Family with regular support and supervision. Through a structured programme we formally place children with their kin, in collaboration with the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) and the Child Welfare Committees. Individual Foster Care is a similar intervention. The non-biological family is not known to the child.
Another critical piece of intervention is to create child care spaces alongside ad hoc or permanent infrastructure created to take care of those affected by emergencies and disasters so that materials and professional services of emotional healing, education, and physical wellbeing are provided in a child-friendly environment. These interventions are aptly termed Short Stay Homes.
We believe that youth need to be enabled towards self-reliance as responsible citizens and contributing members of society. The After Care is provided beyond the age of 18 years until they are emotionally and economically independent.
We take care of children in our Children’s Villages until they acquire employable skills through higher education or vocational skills and maturity to live independently. Our After Care programme is geared to achieve exactly this through youth engagement and care.
Currently, through our basket of care solutions more than 7000 children are supported in 445 family homes inside and outside 32 SOS Children’s Villages in 22 states/UTs, additionally, we directly touch the lives of around 28,500 children, and thousands more indirectly every year through our community interventions, ensuring that no child of any age grows up alone.