In 1988, the Instituto de Apoio à Criança (Child Care Institute) created SOS-Criança as an anonymous and confidential service for children, youth, families, professionals and the community on a national and international level.
SOS-Criança is the product of Dr. Aurora Fonseca's dream, and its aim is to listen to and give a voice to children and youth while promoting and defending their rights. The objective of this service is to support children in Portugal, especially children who are at risk, mistreated, sexually abused, missing, outcast at school, at conflict with parents and that feel rejected or have suicidal thoughts, and search for solutions to these problem situations.
SOS-Criança is above all a preventative service that aims to act before the situation becomes a problem.
- Promote and defend children' rights;
- Listen to and give a voice to children and youth;
- Support children and their families;
- Promote children's and families' social integration;
- Contribute to the harmonious and integral development of children and youth;
- Guarantee the child's right to speak up and to protection in situations where they are at risk or mistreated, when they are denied affection, are isolated, abandoned, sexually or physically threatened, abused or forced to work prematurely;
- Sensitize official and private entities, and society, to children's problems;
- Combat situations of missing, kidnapped and sexually abused children;
- Prevent dangerous situations and problems.
- Give information and/or guidance
Provide information and guidance with the objective of giving enough knowledge so that each person can make their own choices.
By creating a relationship based on understanding and acceptance, we aim to increase self-confidence and self-esteem to stimulate each person's ability to react and work to change their situation.
We follow up on each situation with the responsible entities to ascertain the progress of the situation and to promote a multidisciplinary partnership.
Referrals involve registering data and contacting the community institutions that analyse the problem and intervene to identify the correct response.
Referrals are, therefore, based on the use of the existing resources in the surrounding community with the objective of guaranteeing their effectiveness while also maximizing the available technical, material and psychosocial resources for each person.
Assist in thinking about the problems to contribute to an understanding that may contribute to minimizing the problem.
Re-evaluating problem situations consists of an analysis after the referral where not only the solutions are evaluated, but also the referral process, so that methods can be corrected and the quality and efficiency of our intervention can be improved.
Establish common ground for dialogue between people and institutions and between institutions in order to maximize the efficiency of the solution.
SOS-Criança is a national service whose target groups are:
- Children and youth up to 18 years old;
- Their families;
- Professionals who work in these sectors;
- Citizens who are interested in this area.
In its different departments, SOS-Criança has a team made up of:
- Psychologists (Clinical and Therapeutic);
- Social Workers;
- Childcare workers;
- School mediators;
- Legal advisors.
SOS-Criança develops solutions for children, youth and their families through;
- Telephone service
SOS-Criança Desaparecida ((SOS-Missing Children) helpline
- Personalized help service
- School mediation
The specialized telephone service in the sphere of SOS-Criança, created in 1988, is the department that is most used and most well known. Our telephone service is a pioneer service in Portugal. It aims to help through concerned and open dialogue, anonymously and confidentially, all the children, youth and adults that call for support or to expose problem situations with all children and youth, particularly those who are at-risk. In 1992, our telephone service began a referral service. In 2004, in order to combat situations of missing, kidnapped and sexually abused children the SOS-Criança Desaparecida toll-free helpline with the number 116 000 was created.
The SOS-Criança (SOS-Children) helpline is available as a toll-free number 116 111 and also at 217 931 617.
Each helpline worker has a code name so that both the worker and the caller can be anonymous.
Based on the description of the problem on the telephone, the case is then handled by the team. The calls are screened and information is gathered by the worker who then contacts the community institutions that analyse the problem and create a response plan.
Our email service, which is no more than the modern letter, began in 2001.
Requests received by e-mail are likewise screened and referred with a response.
PERSONALIZED HELP SERVICE
(Social - Legal - Psychological)
Our Personalized Help Service began in 1994 to address social and legal situations. In 2000, psychological support was added to address the different types of questions and requests that arrive from the entire country. This is a free and specialized service that complements the telephone helplines.
The SOS-Criança workers provide specialized support in diverse situations, namely requests from schools or from people who have called previously.
It is sometimes necessary to give personalized help to complement information from other departments of SOS-Criança or to screen and support special situations to which the caller did not find the solution or help needed in the community.
SOS-CRIANÇA - OTHER
Since 1990, through protocols with different universities and education entities, SOS-Criança receives interns in the areas of Social Services, Psychology, Social Educators, Social Politics, Sociology and Cultural Entertainers. The experience, knowledge and sensibility acquired with regards to the problems that children face allow for a better integration of the students into the workforce.
SOS-Criança promotes educational seminars to different target groups, such as teachers, educators, mediators, students and security forces, among others. The educational and sensitization seminars, promoted since 2000, have provided opportunities for sharing and contributed to the prevention and safeguarding of children's rights.