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Kinder brauchen starke Eltern. SOS-Kinderdorf hilft Familien, wenn sie nicht mehr weiterwissen.
Insights into the Children's Villate

SOS-Parent: A special profession

Being an SOS parent is a special profession with unique duties and challenges. While it is often described as a calling and a vocation, specialised training is a key step to becoming an SOS parent.

How is an SOS family formed?

The main responsibility of an SOS parent is to form an SOS family with several children who require SOS family care. This is not an easy task because an SOS parent is the caregiver for children with different backgrounds, many of whom have lived through very painful experiences.

A basic element in an SOS family is that the SOS parent has a personal relationship with each individual child and they appreciate and support each child in the family, taking into account each child's individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as each child's personal background. This work includes supporting children with their past experiences and maintaining contact with the children’s biological families, when appropriate.

SOS parents are care professionals

Every SOS parent needs skills in a number of different areas, including a hands-on approach, theoretical knowledge and parenting skills. This means that SOS parents must have a constructive attitude towards challenges they may face in parenting, as well as challenges they may face themselves. They have to be prepared to become involved in painful processes if it is in the child's interests, and they have to be able to recognise their own personal limits and needs so they do not become overwhelmed.

An understanding of SOS parenting duties is also grounded in knowledge of academic fields such as education and psychology. Specific skills are required to apply this knowledge and put what has been learnt into practice.

Responsibilities of an SOS parent

An SOS parent's duties include working with children's biological families and community members to ensure the rights of all children are respected. The SOS parents training, which focuses on imparting these skills, represents another step forward for the profession of SOS parent, and is a significant move towards recognising SOS parents as educational specialists in out-of-home care.

If you are interested in becoming an SOS parent, please contact the SOS Children's Villages association in your country.