Letter: Children in care

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a trustee of SOS Children's Villages UK, I have seen for myself the results of child care based on a model created nearly 50 years ago in Austria. It has been described as the next best thing to a natural family. Children are cared for by a surrogate mother in family-sized houses grouped together to form the village which in turn is part of the wider community. This care is continuous and secure until children can stand on their own two feet and includes ensuring they have the skills and education to enable them to fulfil their potential. There are, for example, six students from SOS Children's Villages at university in the UK at the moment.

This model of child care - homes for children, not children's homes - is working successfully in more than 120 countries around the world. Ironically, about 20 years ago, SOS Children's Villages UK was told that this form of child care would not work here. Perhaps it is time to reconsider that decision?

ANGELA CHADWYCK-HEALEY

Trustee

SOS Children's Villages UK

Cambridge

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