Feature Story: SOS Illinois Lockport Village

foster care Lockport

During Foster Care Appreciation Month, we’re taking a look back at Lockport Village: the history, programs and services, and wonderful Foster Parents who make it all possible.

Where It All Began

For over 25 years, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois has provided the highest quality of care for Illinois’ most vulnerable children and families. It is the first self-funded SOS organization in the United States, having established itself from the parent organization, SOS Children’s Villages International, that began in 1945 in Europe.

SOS Children’s Villages International came to the aid of children that were orphaned or abandoned during World War II and has since become the largest non-denominational child welfare organization in the world with more than 73,000 children living in over 550 SOS Villages in more than 130 countries. The organization along with the social services they provide helps more than 1.2 million children and adults.

Bringing the SOS Children’s Villages Model of Care to Illinois

Lockport Village opened its doors in 1993. Situated on a sprawling 20 acres near Joliet, IL, it was the first Village in Illinois, bringing to life the SOS Illinois model of care.

It was here that the dream of providing loving, stable home environments where siblings in foster care could remain together and thus, flourish, all started.

Lockport Village Takes on a Different Approach to Children in Foster Care

SOS Children’s Villages Illinois focuses on an innovative approach to traditional foster care, and Lockport Village was just the beginning.

The Village is made up of eighteen single-family homes, an administration building, a community and learning center, and a playground. For over 20 years, the Lockport Village has been raising and nurturing children through the traditional sibling foster care program, as well as the transitional living program.

The Village offers on-site access to clinical, therapeutic, and recreational services, support from surrounding foster families, and programs and facilities serving the larger neighboring community. In addition, ample space for planting and gardening allows the community a chance to enjoy the green spaces and fresh air that make this Village so special in the Chicagoland area.

While our Villages in Chicago embody an urban environment, the rural Village at Lockport is more closely reminiscent to the European model first forged more than 70 years ago.

What Lockport Foster Parents Are Saying

No one has a better view of the incredible things that Lockport Village is doing for our children in foster care than our Foster Parents themselves. They pour all of their love, time, and energy into being full-time Foster Parents to ensure that our children are cared for, supported, encouraged, and fostered into loving, capable adults.

In looking back at the history of SOS Illinois’ Lockport Village, we wanted to take time to hear what current and former Lockport Foster Parents had to say.

The job that you’re doing not everyone can do. It’s an amazing job, and you’ve done it for so long. What would you say are some important qualities for someone who chooses to do what you do?

“I think a good one would be understanding—being able to see it from the child’s point of view. We didn’t grow up in their world. So being able to understand what they’re going through, having a good understanding, and being able to see somebody else’s point of view. They may be doing this or this but they’re doing it because of that, and helping them learn that’s not how they have to live it anymore. And of course patience is a good one.”

How You Can Help Lockport Village Continue Their Quality of Care

SOS Children’s Villages Illinois couldn’t do what we do for the youth in our communities without the loving support of our generous donors.

If you would like to show your support to our original Village in Lockport, there are items that are frequently needed, as well as those that would help to enhance the community environment. You may find out a list of needed items by contacting our Administrative team at 312-372-8200.

If you’re unable to provide any of the physical items but are interested in donating to SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, check out more ways you can give. You may be surprised to find all the ways that non-profit donations can benefit you, the donor, as well!