Map of SOS activies in the USA

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United States

SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves ( photo: SOS Children’s Villages in the US)

The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic situated in North America. It consists of 50 states and its capital is Washington D.C. Large-scale immigration has shaped the country's social and economic landscape. It has transformed the United States into a "melting pot" of different cultures and customs. Ethnically speaking, the United States of America now represents one of the most diverse nations in the world.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in the US since the 1950s.

Children are at risk

In spite of the fact that the United States is considered one of the most prosperous countries in the world, the country's economic system does not provide equal opportunities for all citizens. 1 in 6 children in the US grows up in poverty and experiences high rates of hunger, school drop outs and abuse.
13 million
Children in the US are poor


Child poverty in the United States remains a major problem, disproportionately affecting children from communities of color and from rural areas. The child poverty rate for under-18s is 17%, which is the third highest rate out of all OECD countries. This means that almost 13 million children in the US are impoverished. Children growing up in poverty experience harmful consequences to their health, both in the short- and long-term. They are more likely to miss out on education, lose their home, and lack stability, with dire consequences to their mental health.

Of children from low-income households do not finish high school


Access to quality education has become one of the biggest issues in the US school system. Only 60% of students from low-income households attend schools that offer a full academic curriculum. Furthermore, students from low-income households are seven times more likely to drop out of school. Without a proper education, children and young people struggle to escape the cycle of poverty.

1 in 3
Families are struggling to make ends meet

Family separation

7.4 million families are living below the poverty line in the United States. While financial insecurity is widespread, it’s more prevalent among women and people from communities of colour. 19.5% of Black people living in the US live below the poverty line compared to 8.2% of white people. Poverty is one of the risk factors for unnecessary child-family separation. The more crises families living in fragile situations face, the more their resilience is weakened.

Together we can make a difference for children in the US

Children and young people
Live in foster family care
Children and young people
Are supported in family-like care
(photo: SOS Children’s Villages in the US)

United States: Poverty Amid Plenty

The United States is a nation of contrasts, an economic powerhouse that has seen wealth inequality rising at an alarming rate. According to UNICEF, 30% of American children live below the poverty line, which is significantly above the global average of 20%.

Poverty puts additional strains on already vulnerable families, leaving children at increased risk.

Challenges for Separated Children: Foster Care in the United States

The U.S. child welfare system is in crisis, with a shortage of foster homes and a widespread inability to place siblings together. A lack of effective transition programs makes the move from youth to adulthood very difficult. Less than 50% of children in foster care graduate from high school, and only 3% complete a bachelor’s degree.

Without a high school education and ongoing support to develop professional skills, foster youth can face serious challenges. In fact, 33% of homeless young adults were previously in foster care, and one quarter of foster care alumni will become involved with the criminal justice system within two years of leaving care.

A Family-Centered Approach: Our Work in the United States

In the U.S., SOS Children’s Villages focuses on improving the lives of children who are part of the child welfare system or at risk of entering the child welfare system.  We currently have a presence in two states – Florida and Illinois.

The SOS model works: 100% of SOS youth in the U.S. graduate from high school, and SOS alumni are six times more likely to graduate from college than youth in traditional foster care.