Frequently Asked Questions

Which children are eligible for admission to an SOS Children...
Who decides whether a child is admitted or not?
How many children does one SOS Children's Village family hav...
According to which educational concept are the children brou...
According to which religion are the children brought up?
What are the criteria for the selection of SOS mothers?
What kind of training do SOS mothers receive?
Can I adopt a child from an SOS village?

Which children are eligible for admission to an SOS Children's Village?

SOS Children's Villages worldwide admit children who have either lost one parent or both or whose parents cannot provide for them any longer for various reasons; most SOS children belong to the latter category.

Who decides whether a child is admitted or not?

The SOS Children's Village association of the respective country defines the criteria of admittance within the scope of the guidelines set up by SOS Children's Villages International and according to the economic and social situation within that country.

The decision whether to admit a child is then made by a committee consisting of the village director, the SOS mother, social workers, and sometimes the national director, in co-operation with the authorities. This committee decides whether a child is physically and mentally fit to be admitted to one of our villages and whether the child is in need of a permanent home.

The child admission process ensures a careful and professional assessment of each child before placement in an SOS Children's Village family. This ensures that children who can most benefit from an SOS Village are admitted.

Priority is as follows:

  1. orphans
  2. children with only one parent
    a) children without mother
    b) children without father
  3. children whose parents cannot provide for them

Siblings have priority in every case.

How many children does one SOS Children's Village family have?

The families in industrialized nations are usually smaller than those in developing countries. A typical SOS Children's Village family in an industrialized country consists of three to six children, while families in developing countries usually have seven to ten children.

Contrary to many state-run children's homes, SOS Children's Villages does not separate siblings. That is why some families may have more children.

According to which educational concept are the children brought up?

There is one general educational concept applied at SOS Children's Village facilities all over the world: the SOS family child care model, with all children receiving education. These goals depend on the child's age when admitted to the Village.

The SOS "four principles" - the SOS mother, the sisters and brothers, the family house and the SOS Children's Village - form the basis and foundation for our work at the SOS Children's Villages. The foremost of these principles is the mother, or mother-centered care.

In addition, the children's upbringing depends upon their cultural and ethnic background, their religion, and the people involved in their education.

According to which religion are the children brought up?

Each child is brought up according to the belief (s)he has taken over from her/his parents. If the parents' faith is not known, the child is brought up according to the religion which is most common in the particular culture. In many SOS Children's Villages, different faiths are represented.

What are the criteria for the selection of SOS mothers?

  • Age: between 24 and 40 years
  • Education: if possible nine years of compulsory education;
    in countries where this standard is not generally attained by women, each SOS Children's Village ensures that future mothers are provided with basic education (literacy) during the special training they receive in preparation for their role as an SOS Mother.
  • Marital status: single, widowed, separated or divorced (in some regions, women must not have children of their own).
  • State of health: in good physical and mental health.
  • Aptitude for this kind of work and for success in life
    (independent, practical, patient, optimistic, willing to learn, self-assured and self-confident, cheerful, good at housekeeping, resiliant and able to cope with strain, capable of relating to others well, demonstrating potential for further responsibility).
  • Willingness to deal with difficult children in a loving and supporting way, and assume responsibility; readiness to be there for the children practically around the clock for a long time

What kind of training do SOS mothers receive?

Each SOS Children's Village association has the duty to provide theoretical and practical training for prospective SOS mothers in order to prepare them for their job. The theoretical training program lasts at least three months with subsequent refresher and reflection courses (every other year at the minimum). In European countries, the theoretical training usually lasts one year.


Can I adopt a child from SOS Children's Villages?

No, we try to promote the development of a lasting relationship between the SOS mother and the children in her care in the SOS Children’s Village. Taking children out of the SOS family would endanger this process and would result in sibling groups being split.

One of the principles of the SOS Children’s Village is that it is a permanent and loving home for a child. Generally when a child enters the village, all other options have been exhausted for that child – meaning that their immediate and extended family members are unable to care for that child and that child is not adoptable. It is an important part of the SOS philosophy that each child finds a permanent family in their SOS Village.