Piccolo Principe

Piccolo Principe Onlus has been carrying out socio – cultural projects for 15 years as a welcoming structure, a prevention and care haven for young people. The organization manages four homes for minors removed from their family, and a series of qualified interventions in favour of minors in a state of psychosocial distress


Piccolo Principe welcoming structures


Minors removed from their family every year


Adoptions that fail every year

For all children the magic word is ' Mom ', soon after comes the word ' home '

At Piccolo Principe, children and adolescents have experienced multi-ple failures, a foster, an adoption, a family home Children who have made precariousness and family nomadism a lifestyle, polytraumatized children. The project avails itself of a team of multidisciplinary professionals, with a coordinating psychotherapist, three professional educators, a social worker. There is daytime reception of the child, who will be welcomed with his consent and for which an individualised educational project will be drawn up, which foresees medium and long-term objectives. There is a space for studying, for sports and to activate a psychotherapy path. There is also a space for the group, for moments in which to deal with the group’s relational issues, but also a space to share psychology with parents

A space of relief

One of the welcoming structures of Piccolo Principe is called “Casa sull’Albero”, and it stems from the desire to welcome the self-destructive adoptive or foster family, the toils of children and adolescents, but also the sufferings of the family. It does not cut ties, it does not turn away the minor, we work to make the resources work together, welcoming the minor in difficulty and then supporting the family. It is a project that arises from the need to counteract the phenomenon of the dismissal of projects of fostering and adoption, a service of emergency intervention, capable of Medicare and of intervening in a timely manner. Fortifying the relationship by taking distance, learning the art of not being overwhelmed by fears, helping the family recover its parental role in a respectful way,  fighting the loneliness of those who too often find themselves managing a complexity to which they are not prepared. Helping the child elaborate and rework hard-working thoughts and experiences that relate mainly to the past. Having a place of listening and sharing where you suspend the family conflict and proceed to a mediation

We know that in Italy alone, in the last ten years, 1,500 adopted children have been returned , without counting the children given in custody, there is no updated database for adoption, even less for children given in custody. There is no exact statistic of those wonderful children who are destroyed inside because they returned to the homes families, still the estimate speaks of 150 children per year, one every two days. We call them adoptive failures, stories in which we all lose. ‘Piccolo Principe’, located in Busto Arsizio, not far from Milan, is structured in a large house divided into neighboring apartments, each welcoming children and teenagers of different ages: ‘Orso Baloo’ is the house that welcomes children from 0 to 5 years, ‘Piccolo Principe’ hosts older children from 6 to 13 years old, then there is “Il Volo” the facility for kids up to 21 years old



Adoption project

A. is a 4-year-old boy whose father is a violent alcoholic and mother is too young to take care of him or even herself. A. arrived with all the signs of child abandonment and neglect. He was unable to express himself, speaking an incomprehensible language which lagged behind other children of the same age. He was always isolated, never smiled, and was afraid of making eye contact with adults. Two years later, A. developed language skills in line with his developmental age, emotionally attached to his teachers, and built positive relationships with his peers. During these years, he never mentioned his mother, and visits from his father were suspended as he was scared of him. When a first couple was selected for adoption, the Piccolo Prince devoted time and resources to evaluate the case and help the child start a new life. A psychotherapist worked with A. and his adoptive parents for 2 hours a week for 3 months. Through drawing and storytelling, he accepted the new family. A. met with his new parents accompanied by a professional educator until they arrived home.



Foster Care project

M. is an 8-year-old girl with an Italian mother and Senegalese father. Her mother is a drug addict. Both of M.’s parents had very poor parental skills and it seemed impossible to change them. The father never attended the scheduled visits, and the girl never asked about him. The only time his father showed up was when he was drunk and we had to end the meeting well before the scheduled time. We suspect that there have been sexual promiscuities at home as the girl showed signs of abnormal sexual attitudes. The request for foster care suddenly arrived and two couples were selected. The first one unfortunately, specified a series of terms and conditions that couldn't be accepted. They didn't realize the commitment and responsibility required to follow the institution of foster care. The next couple, was about 45-years-old who had 3 grown children. The couple was happy and cheerful that they immediately bonded with the girl. They decided to take her to a horse riding class every week after knowing she particularly liked horse. M. was comfortable spending time with them and was enthusiastic to see them again after the couple left. The aim of Piccolo Principe was to address critical issues, investigating multiple aspects of the matter to find a solution. The child and the adoptive couple separately met with the psychotherapist every week. In the last stage of the program, all the people involved gathered together for the psychotherapist’s study, including the couple’s biological children. So far, M. has left the community to join her new family. At the beginning, she missed her past playmates and caregivers, but now she is happy. The Piccolo Principe meets with them twice a month to keep track of the program and to prevent potential issues.



Adoption project

S. is a beautiful 8-year-old girl – an age when children are often considered too mature to be adopted. S. had five years of school education behind her, she lived with her mother in a mother-child community, then the program was ended because of insufficient funding. She had to go back home, and the only support she could have was a home care assistant for only 2 hours a day. Her mother, the only family of the child was suffering from drug abuse. S. took care of her since she was only five years old. Because of her mother’s suicide attempt, the case prompted social services and gained immediate attention from the local court. S. came to Piccolo Principe at the age of 5 with heavy emotional burdens. She was sad, confused and even guilty as if she had abandoned her mother. Although the loss of parental authority opened the door to adoption, finding the right family who was able and willing to taking in all the pain was not easy. A few months after the visit of Judge, a couple around 40-years-old, childless and emphatic, was introduced. The meetings were joined by a reference educator and led by a psychotherapist. The couple seemed to have different approaches to interact with S. from the very beginning. The educator worked hard to keep them focused on developing the relationship with the child, yet too much expectation would only frighten the child. It didn’t work out in the end until the second couple arrived after 15 days. At this moment, the Piccolo Principe is finishing up the project with the right adoptive couple. Everything is proceeding smoothly; they will ensure that the little girl will go home with her new family safely and happily.


Patrizia Corbo

President of Piccolo Principe Onlus

“I think that the phrase that most represents my work and my life is a phrase of Hannah Arendt, a philosopher I love so much: "Man is not made to die but to start over." Applies to all and especially for my little ones”.


Il Volo welcoming structure educator

"At Piccolo Principe I deal with teenagers in difficulty, as a professional educator. I live my work as a journey to discover the other, inevitable ingredients in this path are curiosity in the meeting and respect for the history of those I face. I like to think that all the stories, even the most difficult and painful, can evolve, change, transform and that the educational relationship made of everyday life, exchanges and affections can be an engine to open up to new possibilities, a bridge to bring back the Our teenagers dreaming... "


Orso Baloo welcoming structure educator

“All the great were children once. But few of them remember." (The Little Prince, A. de Saint-Exupéry,). The delicacy and power of working with children are enclosed in this little truth. Working in communities means caring for each one in their uniqueness, with their baggage of suffering and needs. It means building emotional ties and creating a safe place where every child can make valuable experiences in those years which are so fundamental to the development of the person. In my work I take care, and this care opens the doors to life in its infinite possibilities".