SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Croatia).

The Republic of Croatia, situated at the intersection of Central and Southeast Europe, on the north-eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, is home to around 4 million people. The Croatian War of Independence, which damaged the economic infrastructure also displaced a large proportion of the population. Following independence, wealth disparity grew in Croatia, leaving impoverished households poorer and many more at risk of poverty.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Croatia since 1992.

Children are at risk

Constituting more than 17% of the population, there are over 690,000 children and young people under the age of 18 living in Croatia. Of these, about a fifth are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Poverty and unemployment is one of the main reasons why there are 3,500 children in care in Croatia. The lack of support to families so that they can stay together means that many children, some as young as three years old, are first being placed into institutional care
1 in 2
Children do not attend preschool in Croatia


Parents struggle to afford preschool: in Croatia only 54% of children over 3 years attend formal early education programmes in Croatia. Attendance is closely linked to household income, with only one quarter of children of households who receive social assistance attending preschool. Early childhood education can be particularly beneficial for disadvantaged children, setting them up for further stages of education and improving their prospects.

1 in 5
Children at risk of poverty in Croatia

Families are struggling

Approximately 21% of all people, and 18% of children under 18 years, are at risk of poverty and social exclusion in Croatia. However, around 70% of the population is still only just managing to make ends meet, struggling to afford necessities. Children from these families are less healthy than their peers and have little chance to access higher education. This limits their future prospects.

1 in 4
Young people are unemployed in Croatia

Skills mismatch

With a national unemployment rate 7%, Croatia’s young people are twice as likely to be unemployed, with a rate around 15%. Further, over 12% of young people are not in employment, education or training. Many skilled workers move abroad, leaving a skills gap between those remaining and available jobs. Youth unemployment is linked to long-term reductions in wages, increased chances of subsequent periods of unemployment, and poorer health and mental health outcomes.

Together we can make a difference for children in Croatia

Can stay together
Grow up in our care
Children and young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages works to protect the rights and privacy of children. As you may notice, we do not show any identifiable photos of children in general information about Croatia. This is because we have limited permission from the children and/or their legal guardians (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Croatia).

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities for all
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and trains parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe, by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting.
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives