Foster families – Deinstitutionalization

Foster families - Deinstitutionalization

In Greece, the dominant model of children protection who need to be separated from their biological family due to serious reasons, is the assignment of their care to institutions. This type of institutionalized care causes several challenges to their normal psychosocial development (institutionalization).

SOS Children’s Villages, based on its Statutes and its pedagogical practice on a global scale, is primarily an organization that promotes Deinstitutionalization. At the same time, SOS Children’s Villages implements activities according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the recommendations of the responsible committee of the Council of Europe for Child Protection.

Our structure and philosophy are based on creating SOS Families, and on the important role of the SOS Mother who replaces the biological mother while the continuous presence of a pedagogue in the house offers the paternal model for children’s smooth development.

At the same time, it is essential that siblings are not separated and live under the same house. It is equally important that children live in an “open environment” and participate in daily activities in the community (school, outdoor activities, etc.). Unlike Institutions, we give emphasis to every child’s unique personality and to living in a family-like environment. We also focus on empowering children’s biological families in order to increase the possibilities of children’s reunification with them.

Deinstitutionalization and Foster Families Support Program

As an organization with many years of experience in the field of Child Protection, we have developed and we implement an innovative program to promote the concept of Deinstitutionalization and Foster Families in 5 regions of Greece.

The goal of this program is to implement targeted activities and create synergies with local Social Welfare Centers and Public Social Services, in order to support the children hosted in child protection institutions as well as the employees of these institutions, and achieve children’s rehabilitation into a family-like environment.


Services provided to children

  •  Psychological support
  • Psychiatric / Child psychiatric support (assessment / diagnosis, short-term therapeutic intervention)
  • Special Education
  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Psychosocial activities
  • Educational support


Services provided to child protection institutions’ employees

  • Training
  • Utilizing the know-how of the European Union and SOS Children’s Villages International
  • Support in creating new Protocols, Internal Regulations, Pedagogical Framework for children’s best interest
  • Utilizing SOS Children’s Villages’ networking


What do we do in the area of Foster Families?

In SOS Children’s Villages we actively support the concept of Foster Families, as a key means towards achieving Deinstitutionalization in Greece. SOS Babies Home has been operating since 2009 with the aim of rehabilitating and treating infants and toddlers who have been abused or neglected, and finding a foster family for them, in case they cannot get reunited with their biological family. We, also, promote the concept of foster families for the children living in all SOS Villages or supported by our programs in Greece.

In 2016, we created the first program regarding Deinstitutionalization, and the Foster Families Service which is responsible for children’s rehabilitation in foster families either for children living in SOS Villages and SOS Babies Home or, through partnerships, children living in public institutions in Greece. During the first three years of operation, we have evaluated more than 200 potential foster families and have rehabilitated more than 145 children into a family environment with great success (zero returns to children’s former environment)

Furthermore, the above mentioned programs have been evaluated by trusted external bodies and the SOS Babies Home has been internationally recognized as a best practice family rehabilitation program.

It is also worth mentioning that SOS Children’s Villages is the only private child protection body that has a representative – with a three-year mandatory term – in the National Adoption and Fostering Council, which coordinates and supervises all relevant procedures.

Find more information about the procedure of becoming a foster parent: