Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Closing date: 11 Jan 2018
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of every child. UNICEF has spent 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families. Defending children’s rights throughout their lives requires a global presence, aiming to produce results and understand their effects. UNICEF believes all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential – to the benefit of a better world.
Duration of Consultancy: 01 February 2018 – 31 December 2018
Location: UNICEF ECA Regional Office
Reporting to: Regional Adviser Child Protection
Institutional care is widely understood by governments and civil society to be harmful for children. After decades of evidence-based advocacy and policy dialogue, many governments have led reforms to close or transform large institutions and replace them with family based alternative care (including foster care) and family support services to prevent children from being separated from their families. While there is still a need to recall the evidence, and re-assert the principles, there is no longer a global or regional debate about the need to reform child care systems away from institutions and towards families and communities.
Europe and Central Asia has been at the forefront of this momentum, with governments leading reform efforts. And UNICEF has been a key partner to governments and others in these efforts. Examples include: support to the development of the 2009 UN Guidelines on the Use and Conditions of Alternative Care at the global level, creating an agreed inter-governmental framework of principles and needed steps; intensive technical support to governments across the region to generate political will and begin the process of reform; convening of a high level ministerial conference to end the placement of children under 3 in institutional care (July 2011 in Bulgaria); the establishment and maintenance of TransMonEE (a regional database containing important indicators around alternative care).
In 2013, UNICEF commissioned an independent evaluation to assess the extent to which child care reforms in eleven countries during the period 2005-2012 had triggered results for children. The evaluation concluded that: Across the countries covered, there has been a noticeable decline in the rate of children in institutional care. The rate of children in residential care has decreased the most in Bulgaria (by 41.5% from 2005 to 2012). In Moldova, the number of children living in institutional care was reduced by over 50% (over 5,000 children were placed into family based care). In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the total number of children in institutional care dropped by 27.6% (2005-2012), while the number of foster families increased by 60% in the same period (111 to 178). The reform of child care systems in EU new member states (Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania) showed significant progress in creating a comprehensive legal framework aimed to contribute to the improvement of the quality of care.
The reforms, although moving well, require continued investment and momentum to ensure no child is left behind. Evidence and data show that children with disabilities have benefited the least from these reforms. A child with a disability in the region is almost 17 times more likely to be institutionalized than a child without a disability. As a result, approximately half of all children living in public institutional care in the region are children with disabilities – in some countries it is as high as 70 per cent. There are other countries in the region where progress has been slow overall, with little political will of governments to start important child care reforms. The region can be largely divided into three categories: 1) countries that have made significant progress, and require a final push to transform and close the remaining large institutions, ensure that the proliferation of unregulated orphanages is prevented, and accelerate the quality and availability of the relatively new family support services and diversified alterative care system; 2) countries that have demonstrated the political will to reform the child care system, but are still in the middle of the de-institutionalization reform stage and require intensive technical and financial support to continue towards a diverse, family-based care system; 3) countries that are at the early stages of child care reform, still have a number of large institutions for children, and require support to generate political will and new services to tackle the problem.
In all contexts, social norms around institutional care, especially for children with disabilities, is of particular importance. Closing institutions for children with disabilities and establishing high quality family and community based care and preventive services requires a multi-sectoral approach across health, education and social welfare – as well as intensive efforts at community level to overcome the stigma and discrimination associated with disability.
While de-institutionalization has been (and will continue to be in many countries) the entry point for reforming the child care system, it is not an end goal in and of itself. The process of de-institutionalization leads to diversified family-based alternative care services at community level (foster care, supported kinship care, small group homes), and to the further development of family support services (for example day care, social work capacity, highly specialized services for families such as counselling for violence survivors , mental health services or alcohol and substance abuse programmes). These services need to be maintained, improved and expanded in response to the needs of communities and families. Ensuring quality interventions requires setting standards, ensuring monitoring and support, and sustaining and expanding national budgets for these services.
For UNICEF the issue of child protection, including de-institutionalization and child care reform, is closely linked to broader social protection reform. Linkages between the two areas have been and will continue to be essential to successfully support governments in larger reform efforts that have an impact on child care.
The UNICEF regional office provides a comprehensive partnership and policy framework as well as technical support functions to these reforms. Child care reform and family support is a priority area for UNICEF across the region. The regional office has and will continue to lead the development of solutions and strategies for child care reform. Partnerships at the regional and global level are also particularly important. The EU’s groundbreaking Ex-Ante Conditions associated with Institutional Care, for example, were successfully advocated for in close collaboration with the European Expert Group in Brussels nearly 10 years ago. In 2020 these conditionalities, which prohibit the use of EU structural funds for institutional care, will be up for review. In close partnership with Oak Foundation, UNICEF is working to ensure that policy makers in the EU are aware of the importance of these conditions, and pledge to strengthen and extend them into the next EU budgeting framework post 2020.
Purpose of the assignment
Under the supervision of the Regional Advisor Child Protection, and in close collaboration with other senior advisors including Social Policy, C4D, M&E, Education, Partnerships, Communications and the focal point for disability, the alternative care consultant will provide technical support to UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, UNICEF Country offices, and partner organisations in the area of de-institutionalization, alternative care / child care reform and the development of family support services.
The main tasks of the assignment are as follows:
Qualifications and Skills Required
Estimated Duration of the Contract
01 February 2018 – 31 December 2018.
Consultant’s Work Place and Official Travel
The consultant will be based in the ECA Regional Office in Geneva Switzerland. He/she may be asked to travel on mission in countries of the region.
Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule
Payment will be made at the end of each month, based on the above-mentioned deliverables.
How to apply
Candidates meeting the profile are asked to apply online by 11 January 2017 and complete the profile form (duly completed profile form can replace P11 form). The following documents should be attached to the online application:
Applications without the documents listed above, will not be considered.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified candidates from all backgrounds to apply.
 Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. **
How to apply:
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=509785