Family Strenghthening Program with Aldeias de Crianças SOS

According to official data (CNPDPCJ 2020), there are almost 70,000 children in Portugal with protection measures, a third of which due to neglect and a fifth due to domestic violence. Recently, we have witnessed new situations of vulnerability (economic, social, psychological and emotional) that directly impact minors and their families, endangering their psychological, social and affective development. It is urgent to invest in actions that contribute to structuring and preserving families.

The Family Strengthening Program focuses on families with children in vulnerable situations. It is urgent to invest in teams that intervene in a timely manner to preserve and reinforce healthy family ties, thus preventing child abuse. Strengthening the parenting skills of children caregivers in vulnerable situations is a priority, to allow them to autonomously protect the children and build strong relationships. 

These focuses are closely linked and are an opportunity to respond to the urgent need for effective investment in prevention through a specialized intervention focusing on the individuality of each family. This project is part of and developed within the scope of the Family Support and Parental Counseling Centers of Aldeias de Crianças SOS.

Aldeias de Crianças SOS Portugal is part of a world federation (SOS Kinderdorf International) and acts in the areas of childcare, monitoring, education and assistance to children in situations of social vulnerability. They welcome infants and juveniles, and provide a family model of differentiated alternative care. In terms of prevention, they lead the Family Strengthening Program, which supports biological families, enabling them to provide care that secures the well-being of their children, thus preventing institutionalization.

The program

The focus of this program is the development of direct parental support, promoting protective skills and family dynamics. All of which are systemically and ecologically assessed with a specific methodology focusing on children’s needs, parental skills and environmental factors that might impact parenting.


Partners involved

Local activities

Aldeias de Crianças SOS
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The Human Safety Net  supports a program that aims at preventing different types of family (parental and child) issues. Here are three of the THSN goals of the Family program in Portugal:

  • Family Preservation: aims at maintaining the child in his/her natural environment by enhancing caretaking skills, thus preventing high-risk situations that may lead children to losing their parental care.
  • Family Meeting Point: creates a neutral and safe space to maintain or reestablish family ties aiming at preventing or reducing the risk of exposing children to parental conflict.
  • Family Reunification: promotes caretaking skills and dynamics that ensure family reunification and prevent further displacements; this implies an integrated intervention aiming at following up on the reintegration of the child in their original family environment.

Photography credits: Associação Aldeias de Crianças SOS de Portugal