Educational system of SOS Children’s Village has multiple levels: first of all, children live in SOS Children’s Village and can move on to SOS Youth Home after basic school graduation. After having obtained a profession and found a job, young people will be living semi-independently, maintaining close relations with mentor-confidante (which means that SOS Children’s Village will help a young individual to pay the rent for his/her independent lodgings and s/he is always welcome to ask for advice from his/her mentor-confidante. This semi-independent stage of life will last for the period of three years since starting a live at Youth Home. Young people are helped to choose their lodgings by SOS Children’s Village in co-operation with local authorities of their place of residence. This includes preparations for the last stage or independent life, which starts at the age of 22-23 years.
Students of SOS Children’s Village are not required to pass all these stages; however, most of them get to Youth Homes. Children come to Youth Home usually at the age of 16-18 years; recommendably after the graduation from basic school. The maximum period for living at a Youth Home is 4 years, during that time young people should have obtained a profession and found their first job. Young people, studying in universities or serving their military term, can live longer at Youth Homes.
The first SOS Youth Home was opened in Keila in autumn 1999; at the end of 2002, Youth Home was also opened in Tallinn. Today, 15 young people live in Keila Youth Home while 10 young people have made their home at Tallinn Youth Home. Tallinn SOS Youth Home got new dwellings in August 2007 and is located in a spacious apartment, where young people can share rooms in pairs. Four mentors and a manager also work there. The most important aspect in SOS Children’s Village is the safety of the child and that is also the case at Youth Homes. This is a home for our young people and all the mentors and the manager should be committed to their jobs with a long-term perspective. It’s important to avoid changing the life of young people frequently. Moving from Children’s Village to the Youth Home is a big change for a child as it is.
Although one adult stays at the house around the clock, young boys and girls must mostly cope with their lives by themselves. Housework is done with advice and assistance from adults; young people must also cook their own breakfast and dinner. Young people are directed and helped to develop their social and practical skills, choosing a profession, considering both their capabilities and labour market situation, and finding a job.
Young people, who have grown accustomed to security, care and maternal love, provided by SOS mother, must get accustomed to completely different conditions, new people, different type of care and supervision in Youth Homes, taking more and more responsibility for their own future. However, all the young people maintain relations with SOS-mothers and often pay visits to Keila, Children’s Village, during weekends and holidays to see their SOS mother and family.