As we have shared throughout our Did You Know? series, the SOS Children’s Villages Illinois story began over 30 years ago due to the growing need to provide comprehensive foster care to sibling groups in Illinois. Our innovative model of foster care was built off of the SOS Children’s Villages International model, first developed in Europe in the 1940’s.
Today, SOS Illinois continues to emphasize these same four pillars of 1) uniting siblings in foster care who then, 2) receive care and support from a full-time, professionally trained Foster Parent, 3) grow up in one of our private, single-family homes, and 4) are supported by the Village, designed as an intentional community of care. However, at SOS Illinois, we also include our preventative and family strengthening services offered through Casa Tepeyac as a cornerstone to the important work we do with regards to reunifying families.
By adding this important service as our fifth pillar, SOS Illinois is able to better serve at-risk youth and families throughout the greater Chicago region, as well as adapt as an agency to the ever-changing landscape of the child welfare industry. Preventative and family strengthening services are crucial to the work we do to serve children and families in need, while helping build the future of foster care.
Preventative Services at Casa Tepeyac
Casa Tepeyac is a valued part of our larger Village. Acquired in 2011, the SOS Illinois facility in Chicago’s Back of The Yards neighborhood focuses on providing in-home family services to at-risk youth and families. Family strengthening services are offered to the surrounding community, as well as to families in need throughout Chicago. Our dedicated team works to teach prevention in the home, ensure the well-being and safety of children, as well as guide youth and families in strengthening their bonds.
We see this in action through offerings such as: lecture series; in collaboration with other local organizations; focused curriculum and trainings on reducing stigma around mental health; and on-site parenting workshops built to encourage parents to help each other learn and process various topics.
The key to our preventative and family strengthening services is that we work to keep families intact whenever possible. These programs then also support parents in their growth of getting to know their children, getting to know their development, and teaching them how to talk to their children. As we build stronger families, we create healthier and more robust communities.
The Importance of Family Strengthening Services for the Future of Foster Care
SOS Illinois’ approach whether on the Village or through our preventative programs, emphasizes the importance of the family unit. We marshal resources to support the growth of the entire family. Casa Tepeyac’s programs and services have become intregal not only to families in surrounding communities, but also to the families within our own Villages. We now offer many of these same workshops to our birth parents, to further support family reunification of children in foster care. By outfitting birth parents with skills and techniques to support their children, we change the narrative for families in foster care and make meaningful contributions to create a more just and peaceful society.
As an organization, our ongoing commitment to innovation allows us to understand how we through our Village Model of Care can be an agent of change in the world. By recognizing that poverty, homelessness, and unemployment are the main contributing factors of why children are placed in foster, we open our programs to serve our children and families more equitably and inclusively. Ensuring our preventative and family strenthening programs are provided is a positive contribution to helping families heal and reunite. We believe the SOS Illinois Difference can be the difference not only for a child, but also for the family, its community, and our society.
SOS Illinois is committed to making lasting change to help build the future of foster care.
Support the SOS Children’s Villages Illinois Mission
Consider making a contribution to ensuring the programs and services at SOS Illinois continue to strengthen families and transform lives for years to come as well. Click here to donate today. Remember, change is in our hands.