SOS Children's Village Medlanky SOS Children's Villages started working in Brno in 2003. We focus on providing support to vulnerable families so that they can stay together. If, however, this is not possible, SOS families can care for children and young people. An evolving labour market Having lunch together (photo: SOS archives) Medlánky is situated just outside the city of Brno in Southern Moravia. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic and has a strategic position, as it is situated only around 200 km from the capital cities of Prague, Vienna and Bratislava. The city is also an important administrative centre, being home to the judiciary and various state organisations. Historically the people in the area were involved in manufacturing and industry, but in recent years the service and technology sectors have become increasingly critical. However, the changes in activities have not benefited all segments of the population. Women (especially those with pre-school-aged children), people of Roma background or other ethnic minorities, and young people with disabilities often find it hard to get work. In Southern Moravia around ten percent of people are thretened by poverty. Single parents, especially women, are the most vulnerable. Given the relatively low wages, it can be hard for single parents to earn enough money to provide for their family. This is especially difficult when single parents are restricted to jobs that fit around available childcare. A need to provide children with a loving home and young people with a future SOS Children's Villages has been very active in the development and implementation of child protection policies in the Czech Republic. Given the number of children without parental care who are in institutional care, the SOS Children's Villages idea that children could be looked after in families, rather than in state-run institutions, continues to be very important. Children who have grown up in the care of SOS Children’s Villages are individually supported until they can live independently. What we do in Medlánky The police visited the village and let the children explore their motorbikes (photo: SOS archives) SOS Children's Villages has been present in Medlánky since 2003. Strengthen families: The family strengthening programme reaches out and provides support to families in crisis situations in four locations in the region. Our support varies depending on what the family needs in order to stabilise their difficult social or financial situation, and to prevent the children being taken into care. We work with the family in their homes and neighbourhoods. In collaboration with local organisations, we also work towards strengthening the already existing support networks within the community. Supporting foster families: Children who can no longer be cared for by their parents, can find a new home in foster families. SOS Children’s Villages provides support to these families. This includes social counselling, psychological help, training of professional skills, services to ease foster parenting and assistance with meeting the children’s biological family. We organise regular leisure-time activities for children, such as art, music, drama and sport classes. We organize trips, visit museums, exhibitions or go to the cinema, and attend summer camps and other activities. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin, so that they can return to live with their families. Support for young people: Young adults are supported while they attend further education, receive training or find their first job. With the guidance of qualified staff they are encouraged to make their own decisions and be prepared to live independently. We can provide accommodation and support until young adults are around 26 years old.