Full-time Individual Contractor (11.5 months, home-based in Trieste or at commuting distance (Italy)): Guardianship expert in Friuli Venezia Giulia - Europe and Central Asia Regional Office
Application deadline 4 months ago: Sunday 4 Sep 2022 at 21:55 UTCOpen application form
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For every child, Protection
Purpose of Activity/Assignment
Strengthening the capacity of the guardianship system for unaccompanied children, through sensitization for the identification of potential guardians, direct training, including on the job training and support to volunteer guardians, in close cooperation with the Local Juvenile Court, relevant Municipalities in Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Regional Ombudspersons for Childhood and Adolescence and civil society organizations currently active in the local context.
In the context of migration and asylum, Italy continues to be a frontline country for arrivals both by sea from the Mediterranean and by land from the Balkan route. The country is at times considered a destination country while many other times as a transit one for all those migrants and refugees who are trying to reach Northern European countries. Refugees and migrants, and in particular children and women travelling alone, continue to undertake dangerous journeys to reach Europe. Additionally, the recent eruption of hostilities in Ukraine generated a new influx of people towards EU countries, including Italy. Children fleeing Ukraine travel sometimes accompanied by one or both their parents, sometimes with other relatives or other accompanying adults, other times as part of the evacuation of Ukrainian institutions or autonomously, unaccompanied.
Law n. 47/2017 introduced in the Italian system specific provisions to ensure that a guardian is nominated by the Juvenile Court for each and every unaccompanied and separated child, from a list of trained ordinary citizens, appointed as “volunteer guardians” by the Juvenile Court itself. Guardians have a wide range of responsibilities, from representing children in legal or other administrative proceedings, to ensuring that all decisions concerning children are taken in their best interests and taking into account the child’s views, as well as acting as a bridge between the child and other actors in the child protection system. The responsibility for the selection and training of the volunteer guardians is mandated to the Regional Ombudspersons, while the National Ombudsperson has a role of promotion and supervision of the guardianship system. The applicable discipline for their functions remains regulated by the civil code. Volunteer guardians can play a key role in the asylum and migration system, they are external players that can ensure fairness of the procedures, encourage local authorities to undertake appropriate measures and connect services, with a very limited cost, given the voluntary nature of the model. They are critical, for example, with regards to the age assessment procedure, ensuring children’s access to information at all times, defining an individual social inclusion path, facilitating the child’s access to legal aid, ensuring access to services and educational opportunities, as well as facilitating the transition to adulthood. After five years from the promulgation of Law n. 47/2017, despite the efforts of the Italian authorities to ensure the protection and inclusion of unaccompanied and separated children, the level of implementation of the Italian volunteer guardianship system remains partial and inhomogeneous between different regions of Italy, both in terms of number and availability of trained guardians and of level of support they receive.
In the daily practice of their functions, volunteer guardians are likely to be confronted with a lot of complex and diversified cases, requiring high qualified knowledge of the legal and protection system as well as of the main relevant stakeholder and public authorities involved in the different processes. Guardians also are called to develop solid skills in evaluating and determining the best interest of the child in any situation. While all this is needed from the guardians’ side, the initial training they receive can only partly cover all the specific cases they might be confronted with, and the rapidly evolving system also requires continuous update.
The influx of unaccompanied and separated children consequent to the war in Ukraine also contributes to putting additional pressure on the guardianship system. This happens both due to the higher demand of trained guardians but also for the roles and functions they are expected to play. The majority of Ukrainian unaccompanied and separated children travel together with adults – such as the directors of the institutions they were hosted in Ukraine – who are sometimes recognized as guardians by the Italian Juvenile Courts.
The continuous evolution of migration flows as well as the differences in the profiles and potential vulnerabilities of unaccompanied and separated children, including age and gender related, requires Juvenile Courts to always have a wide range of well-trained guardians ready to be appointed, with the final goal of ensuring to all unaccompanied and separated children the level of representation and support.
Given its bordering position, Friuli Venezia Giulia has been traditionally considered a Region of entrance and transit of migration flows from the Balkan route, but in recent years has consistently been hosting between 5% and 8% of the unaccompanied and separated children present in Italy (data MLSP 2022). Despite the increasing need, the number of volunteer guardians nominated and registered in Friuli Venezia Giulia remains one of the lowest in Italy (58 in total as of the beginning of 2021, according to the most recent data from the periodic monitoring of the National Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents, though the number has increased as a consequence of the training courses organized in 2022 by the Regional Ombudsperson). At the same time, over the course of the same period, Trieste was reported as the third Italian city for number of unaccompanied and separated children with a nominated volunteer guardian (356 at the beginning of 2021 according to the same report), with an evident risk of overloading volunteer guardians with multiple appointments of children in need.
Under the guidance of the Child Protection Specialist and in close coordination with the Local Juvenile Court, the Guardianship Expert will contribute to the effective and efficient implementation of the Law n.47/2017, providing direct support to the volunteer guardians in performing their duties, through training, technical advice and facilitation of the interaction with the public administration, services and local opportunities for social inclusion. The consultant will work in close coordination with the Local Juvenile Court, the local Municipalities of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Regional Ombudspersons for Childhood and Adolescence and the civil society organizations currently active in the local context
Scope of Work
Since 2017, UNICEF is working with local authorities and National Ombudsperson for childhood and adolescence, to support volunteer guardians in performing their own duties, establishing a model of support including legal advice and mediation, advice on pedagogical approaches and on supporting vulnerable children – including survivors of violence – managing the child-guardian relationship and cultural diversity, and facilitating the connections with services and public authorities. In the past years, UNICEF has established monitoring and supporting offices for volunteer guardians in Palermo, Catania and Messina in cooperation with local Ombudspersons and Municipalities, and an initial version of the model has been documented for its potential further expansion and analysis and with the goal of its adaptation and replication in different context and nationwide scale-up.
During an initial assessment conducted in February 2022 and additional exchanges in July 2022, the local authorities in Friuli Venezia Giulia expressed the need for an increased support to the local guardianship system which, despite the progressive strengthening, remains in need of additional efforts for its consolidation and its expansion to be able to respond to the increasing need.
Considering all the above and to continue in the process of development and expansion of the model of support to volunteer guardians, the consultant will work in close collaboration with the local Juvenile Court, Municipalities and Regional Ombudsperson to:
- Support volunteer guardians in performing their legally mandated duties, through technical advice and guidance, including with particular regards to best interest determination.
- Provide guardians with continuous pre-service and on-the-job training, both through direct roll-out of UNICEF trainings and participating to trainings organized by the Regional Ombudsperson.
- Facilitate the cooperation between guardians, reception facilities and all the relevant public actors (Social Services, Prefectures, Courts).
- Support the guardians’ efforts to ensure and facilitate the access of unaccompanied and separated children to services as appropriate, including through the development and continuous update of referral pathways.
- Present and promote the platform U-Report on the Move among the volunteer guardians to reach the unaccompanied children under their supervision.
- Support the establishment (or strengthening where already existing) of peer-support mechanisms between volunteer guardians operating in the same areas, including a digital space to allow them to share information on rights, available services and opportunities for social inclusion for unaccompanied and separated children.
- Collect information from the guardians and the children to inform the improvement of the model of support to volunteer guardians and local and national advocacy efforts.
Work Assignment Overview
Tasks / Milestone******Deliverables / Outputs******Timeline / DeadlineSupport to volunteer guardiansMonthly report on the continuous support (technical advice and guidance) provided to volunteer guardians, including an analysis of the needs expressed and local available supporting systemsMonthlyReport on sensitization activities for the identification of new volunteer guardiansQuarterlyReport on capacity building activities related to volunteer guardians, with a focus on training needs expressed by guardians, organization and conduction of pre-service trainings and continuous on-the-job trainingDevelopment and continuous update of referral pathways for unaccompanied and separated childrenOngoingSet up (or strengthening where already existing) of a digital peer-support platform between volunteer guardians operating in the same areasMonitoring of local child protection system and advocacy for the improvement of the conditions of unaccompanied and separated childrenReport on the challenges, bottlenecks and opportunities related to child protection at local level collected through the support provided to volunteer guardians and coordination with other stakeholders and presentation of findings to relevant stakeholders when neededMonthlyCoordination with institutional counterparts, other UN agencies and civil society organizationsEstablishment and coordination/facilitation of coordination fora between relevant stakeholders involved in the support of volunteer guardians and more broadly in the protection of unaccompanied and separated childrenOngoingStrengthening of the guardianship support modelFinal report on activities conducted, including specific recommendations for the strengthening of the model of support to volunteer guardians at local levelMonth 11Estimated Duration of the Contract
11.5 months (October 2022 - September 2023)
Individual Contractor's Work Place and Official Travel
The assignment will be home-based in Italy. If not based in Trieste or at commuting distance, frequent travels will be required. The Individual Contractor is required on a full-time basis for the period of the contract.
The Individual Contractor will travel to field locations in Italy. The Individual Contractor will be responsible for organizing their travel. All travel expenses (tickets, accommodation, public transport, meals) will be reimbursed. The maximum amount for travel overall will be EUR 2,000.
- All UNICEF rules and regulations related to travel of Consultants/Individual Contractors apply.
- All travels shall be undertaken only upon the prior written approval by UNICEF.
- The consultant is responsible for his/her for travel arrangements. The most economic and direct route is authorized.
- Travel costs will be reimbursed after the completion of mission upon submission of the invoice together with the supporting documentation.
- The consultant must be fit to travel, be in a possession of the valid UN BSAFE certificate, obligatory inoculation(s) and have a valid own travel/medical insurance and an immunization/vaccination card.
Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule
Payment will be made on submission of a monthly invoice and satisfactory completion of the above-mentioned deliverables. Please indicate an all inclusive fixed monthly fee in EUR to undertake this assignment.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- Bachelor's degree in Psychology, Pedagogical sciences, Social Sciences, Law, Political Sciences or other related disciplines
- At least 5 years of professional experience with refugees and migrants or vulnerable children along with extensive experience in the field of protection is required.
- Proven experience of work with local authorities.
- Proven knowledge of the national context with regards to reception, protection and inclusion of migrant and refugee children, including guardianship system. Knowledge of the local context of FVG is considered an asset.
- Ability to work through networking and partnership.
- Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships.
- Fluency in Italian and English is required.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s core values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA), and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
To view our competency framework, please visit here.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
Please include a full CV and Financial Proposal in your application. Additionally, indicate your availability and monthly rate (in EUR) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a monthly rate will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
It should be noted that selected candidate will be responsible for arranging for their own health and medical insurance. This consultancy does not provide any other benefits other than the consultancy fee and 1.5 days leave entitlement per month and the UN official holidays. Selected consultant will be responsible for complying with local tax requirements and any tax liabilities that may arise as a result of the consultancy with UNICEF.
Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.
The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.
UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.