SOS parents

SOS parents are trained and dedicated carers looking after children living in our village communities. Our carers come from the local community and use their understanding of the cultural context to inform their support for children. They receive several years of training before qualifying as an SOS parent and caring for children in a bespoke home, supporting their individual needs according to a structured development programme. Worldwide there are more than 5,000 SOS parents in 571 village communities.

My SOS mum is my real mum. She’s the one who made me what I am today. She’s the one who believes in me and supports me. She’s the one who loves me. I love my mum with all my heart.

Plamen, who grew up in SOS Children's Village Triavna, Bulgaria

What does it mean to be an SOS mum?

What is an SOS parent?

An SOS parent looks after children whose biological parents are no longer able to do so. All children who are taken into an SOS Children’s Village live together with brothers and sisters and their SOS parent. An SOS parent is paid a salary, given a family budget depending on the size of their family, and runs their household themselves. They are assisted by a family assistant. The SOS parent follows the children’s development, working together with the village director and the other staff in the village community.

The children give me a purpose, I cannot imagine being without them. My children are everything to me.

Leticia, SOS Mother at SOS Children's Village Morelia, Mexico

How do we train SOS parents?

SOS parents are carefully chosen and given substantial training ensure they are the right people to manage children who may have experienced very difficult early lives. Training and development for SOS parents depend on the cultural, social and economic circumstances in each region, and varies accordingly. Every prospective SOS parent completes two years of basic training. This is made up of approximately six months of theoretical input followed by practical training. Our SOS parents are constantly assessed to ensure their understanding of child welfare and care meets best practice standards.