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 Poland).

Officially the Republic of Poland, the country is the fifth-most populous member state of the European Union with a declining population of 38.3 million inhabitants. Around 60% of the country's population lives in urban areas or major cities and 40% in rural communities. Seeking refuge from the war in their home country, over 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees registered in Poland in 2022. Most of these are women and children, who were seeking safety. Children and young people need support so that they can continue their education.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Poland since 1983.

Children are at risk

Before the war in Ukraine, there were around 7 million children and young people under 18 in Poland, constituting 19% of the population. Around 70,000 children live in out-of-home placements. However, there is an aversion to intervening in family situations in Poland. As such, a child can only be removed from their family if there is a serious risk, or when an extreme situation arises in the family. Yet, there is no clear definition of what that the terms mean, and no appropriate system in place to protect the best interests of a child.
3.8 M
Children need social assistance

Children need support

Many families are not covered by social security, which leaves 3.8 million children in need social assistance Social assistance programmes in Poland are often limited. For example, many entitlements, including child allowance, have remained the same for several years and have not increased to include the rising cost of living. Coupled with low wages, families struggle to provide for their children. As a result, children in these families live precariously on the margins of society, in poverty, or at risk of falling into poverty.

1 in 6
Children are at risk of poverty in Poland

Children live in poverty

Around 15% of the population in Poland live below the poverty line, with approximately 900,000 children at risk of poverty. In addition, over 4% of people live in extreme poverty, meaning that more than 400,000 children in Poland are experiencing severe material deprivation. Extreme poverty makes it impossible for parents to meet the basic needs of their household. As a result, children do not have adequate food and shelter, and lack access to education, and healthcare.

1 in 10
Young people are unemployed in Poland

Unable to find work

Unemployment affects around 5% of the Polish labour force, with around 1.7 million people registered as unemployed However, the highest rate of unemployment, over 9%, is experienced by young people, meaning that almost 340,000 young people are struggling to find work. Young people who are out of work have decreased well-being and greater social isolation. They also lack opportunities to gain and improve their skills, exacerbating employment and socio-economic challenges.

Together we can make a difference for children in Poland

Can stay together
Grow up in our care
Children and young people
Are supported on their way to independence
When children cannot live with their families, they come into the care of SOS Children’s Villages. Wherever possible, and if it is in the children’s best interest, we support their families so that they can stay in contact. If children can return to live with their families, we support them during this period of change (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Poland).

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities for all
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and trains parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe, by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting.
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives