A call to action from SOS Children’s Villages International: Protecting children without or at risk of losing parental care
This position statement presents the key asks that are necessary to ensure that the rights and needs of children without or at risk of losing parental care are prioritized by national, regional, and international governments as they adopt measures to mitigate the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.
Given their multidimensional conditions of vulnerability that could lead to a downward spiral in the context of the projected socio-economic crises, we ask that:
- Child welfare and protection services, and their staff be designated as essential and resourced accordingly.
- Social protection services that support families’ income and well being are scaled up.
- Inter-agency coordination delivering services to the community is strengthened.
- Safeguarding prevention and support is redoubled to preempt and promptly address increased risks of abuse, violence and neglect.
- Progress achieved in quality in alternative care is not jeopardized, but rather enhanced.
- Support and protection of care leavers is scaled up.
- Children on the move are protected and their access to adequate care as national children is ensured.
Children without or at risk of losing parental care are among the most vulnerable. Young people aging out of care and transitioning into independent living are facing extremely fragile situations. Some of them are losing their jobs and lack protections and safety nets to survive. Some are unable to connect remotely to continue their education, and may lack the resources and family support to overcome the anxiety and uncertainty that the isolation and lockdown may create.
- According to some estimates, the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push half a billion more people into poverty unless urgent action is taken
- Up to 75% of people in least developed countries lack access to soap and water and income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion
- Over 89% of the students currently enrolled worldwide in education are out of school because of COVID-19 closures (as of May 2020) – representing 1.54 billion children and youth enrolled in school or university
- 300 million primary school children who depend on school meals are missing out due to closures triggered by the coronavirus pandemic
- SOS Children’s Villages estimates that approximately 10% of all children (1 in 10) worldwide are at risk of losing or have already lost the care of their family
SOS Children’s Village BC
Locally, as the pandemic unfolds, SOS Children’s Village BC has been able to take action and practice this call to action by sustaining the kids and youth at our Village and meeting their needs. We are advocating for the children and their caregivers and shifting how we support our families according to the seven points above.
It’s important to note that unlike some SOS Children’s Villages around the globe, here in British Columbia we work with kids who are in continuing custody care and long term foster care.
SOS Children’s Villages stands ready to share our expertise and do our part to secure the rights of all children without parental care. We can only complete this call to action with your support and in collaboration with the global community. We need to come together to help every child to build a future, support every family to stay strong, and strengthen the well-being of societies.