Over nine per cent of the population lives in poverty
According to latest figures 9.7 per cent of people are poor. Young people under the age of 18, families with children, women and the unemployed account for most of those living in poverty.
Single parents, especially women, are the group that is most threatened by poverty. Given the relatively low wages, it can be hard for single parents to earn enough money to provide for their family. This is especially difficult when single parents are restricted to jobs that fit around available childcare.
Violence against women is a pressing issue in the Czech Republic. Recent surveys have shown that nearly 28 per cent of women have experienced domestic violence. There have been calls for increased measures to raise awareness about violence against women, and prosecute more reported cases.
An increasing number of children are in need of care
Although measures to protect the rights of children have been implemented, the rights of children need further protection. This is especially critical because the number of children in need of alternative care is rising. Children from Roma backgrounds, those with disabilities, and those with migrant backgrounds are particularly at risk.
The vast majority of children in care come from families that are experiencing difficulties like poverty, lack of adequate housing, disability and illness, or who suffer from an addiction. Given the right support, these families may be able to stay together.
In the past a very high number of children who had lost parental care lived in large, old-fashioned institutions which did not adapt to the children’s individual needs. Over the past five years, there has been a change in the approach to care. The authorities have been working to ensure that children can remain with their family of origin or, if this is not possible, they should live in family care like that provided by SOS Children’s Villages.
Young adults at SOS Children's Village Medlanky - photo: SOS Archives
SOS Children's Villages in the Czech Republic
SOS Children's Villages started working in the Czech Republic in 1969.
Strengthen families: We provide much needed support to families who are at risk of breaking down. We work directly with families and communities so that they can protect and look after their children. We run day-care centres and ensure access to health services and education.
Care in families: Children who cannot live with their families can live in SOS families. Some of these families live in homes in the community. Due to the Czech legal framework, the families are officially known as “foster families”, but this makes no difference to the care they provide to the children. They maintain the same high standards of care and receive the same support as SOS families in other countries.
Wherever possible, children are encouraged to keep in touch with and visit their families of origin. We work closely with the children’s families, so that children can return to live with them. When this happens, we support the children and families during the period of change and adjustment.
Short-term care: We also provide short-term, emergency care for children from families in crisis. The children stay with us until they can either return to live with their family or find a more permanent home in SOS families or elsewhere.
Support for young people: We support young people while they finish their education, gain further training and look for work.
Advocacy: We work closely with other care organisation and public authorities to raise awareness of children's rights.
Website of SOS Children's Villages Czech Republic
(available in Czech)