SOS Families

The family-based care is implemented through SOS families within the SOS Children's Village for children who lost parental care and who have no guardian or distant relatives to care for them. Through the SOS Children's Village concept in 1949, our organisation has opened the way to long-term family-based care for orphans and abandoned children.

This concept is based on four principles: the SOS mother, the brothers and sisters, the home and the village.

The involvement of a child in the family-based care is free of any financial participation. A child, who has lost parental care and has no one from the community to care for him, will provide with a new mother, new siblings, a new home and a new community.

Criteria for admission into family-based care are:
  • Age (0-8), except in cases of siblings (exceptions are made for older children from the same family)
  • Full orphans (both parents deceased)
  • Half-orphans (one deceased parent and the other unable to take care of the child)
  • Social cases (children deprived of parental care for various reasons)
  • Abandoned children (children without family reference)
  • Children who are victims of sociocultural exclusions (habits, customs and beliefs).

For the children in our care, the SOS Children’s Village maintains the relationship between the child and his/her biological family, through the mechanisms of monitoring and evaluation. For abandoned children, SOS Children’s Village conducts further investigations to track the footprints of the biological family of the child in order to establish the conditions for the return of the child.

For children who cannot return into their biological environment for various reasons, there are opportunities to go to SOS youth facilities at the age of 14 years for boys and 16 for girls.

At the youth facilities, youth programmes allow them to learn and make progress. Youth develop attitudes, behaviours, confidence and skills needed to take charge of their own future and become successful and active members of society. Children continue to go to school or learn a trade and gradually prepared for autonomy that occurs around the age of 23 when the youth gets his first job, starts an income-generating activity or a viable training that will grant him a decent job. Among the first children who grew up in the SOS Children's Villages in Benin to date, there are carpenters, a doctor, a farm engineer, plumbers, hairdressers, customs, bank employees, lawyers, engineers, computer scientists, human resource managers, glaziers, etc.

It is important to note that the admission in the programme of Families of Origin and SOS families (family-based) care is based on surveys conducted by the State Social Promotion Centres and the Psycho-social Services of SOS Children's Villages. After investigations, an admission committee which is composed of representatives of the Social Promotion Centres, the social services of local governments, partners and SOS stakeholders meets to decide on  investigated cases and gears the children of our target group into the appropriate care on the basis of their best interests.


Our programmes in Abomey-Calavi, Dassa-Zoumé and Natitingou in Benin enable us to fulfil the rights of thousands of children. SOS Children’s Villages Benin is a member of Children's Villages International, operational in 133 countries and territories.