Alternative care in SOS Families

The alternative care in SOS families is implemented for children who lost parental care and who have no guardian or distant relatives to care for them. This care option is compliant with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, adopted in 2009.

The admission of a child in SOS families is free of any financial participation. A child, who has lost parental care and has no one from the community to care for her/him, will provide with a new mother, new siblings, a new home and a new community.

The 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)
  • 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.

Every year, the placement of the children is reviewed to ensure that no other best care option is available for the child depending on her/his best interest. For children who cannot return to their biological environment for various reasons, there are opportunities to stay in the SOS families until they reach the age of 23 when they are properly equipped to lead an independent life.

Among the 170 first children who grew up in the SOS Children's Villages in Benin to date, there are carpenters, medical doctors, university teachers, farm engineers, plumbers, hairdressers, customs, bank employees, lawyers, engineers, computer scientists, human resource managers, glaziers, soldiers, etc.

It is important to note that the admission of children in the family strengthening and in SOS families is based on social investigations conducted by the State Social Promotion Centres and the Psycho-social Services of SOS Children's Villages. After the 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 admits the children of our target group into the appropriate care solution 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.