International consultant - Technical assistance for the revision of the legal and policy framework regulating adoption, foster and kinship care

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UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

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Application deadline 4 days ago: Tuesday 9 Apr 2024 at 21:55 UTC

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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, child rights

UNICEF in the Republic of North Macedonia supports the strengthening of national systems to ensure children are protected from a full spectrum of risks and that every child lives in a supportive family environment. The Republic of North Macedonia has commenced a process of codification of all civil laws in the country, including the Family law. This opens an opportunity, after more than 20 years, to revise the Family law, and align it with the latest international standards and CRC recommendations for the country.

There are several key issues in the Family Law, that require amendment and have been identified with the concluding observations for North Macedonia by the Committee on the Rights of the Child,1 including the need for the country to: i) take measures to increase fathers’ responsibility in the upbringing of children by amending the Family Law with the aim of introducing joint parenting after divorce; ii) enact legislation and other measures to ensure the preservation of and access to information on the origin of the adopted child and concerning the identity of the biological parents; iii) remove all exceptions that allow marriage under the age of 18 years; iv) Ensure that proceedings on custody and other family matters are promptly resolved, including by strengthening professional counselling and mediation in divorce/separation conflict situations.

The regulation in terms of adoption, especially in terms of criteria for selecting adoptive parents, process of evaluation, commission composition and decision-making processes and timelines also requires revision to adhere to international standards and enable decisions that are in the best interest of the child.

In addition to the Family Law, the Law Social Protection should also be reviewed as part of the process, the ensure the cohesion and alignment of these laws. More specifically, foster care is regulated in the Law on Social Protection and there are many aspects, including the opportunity of foster carers to adopt the child, which is their care, that need to be introduced.

The process of revision of the Family Law is on-going, led by the Working Group established by the Ministry of Justice.

UNICEF Skopje is seeking an international consultant to support the revision of the normative framework relevant to childcare with a focus on the Family law, in line with international and European standards. Moreover, the international consultant will develop materials to support the advocacy efforts throughout the revision process, and the process of adoption of the Law. The assignment will be conducted through a participatory process with involvement of all relevant stakeholders.

Purpose and objectives of the Individual Consultancy

International consultant with experience and knowledge of childcare, child rights, particularly in legislative revisions related to childcare, adoption and foster care.

How can you make a difference?

The consultant will provide technical assistance to:

i. Analyse and assess the legal and policy framework regulating childcare and its alignment with European and international standards, with a focus on the Family law. This should include but not limited to the following matters: adoption, foster care, kinship care, and co-parenting. The analysis and assessment should be guided and include best practices of European legislation.

ii. Deliver an analysis with concrete recommendations and draft amendments for the Family Law, and other legal acts where relevant. The recommendations should include concrete wording of legal articles, and examples of articles in European legal acts which are in line with international standards. The analysis should also provide an overview of the need to adopt/revise by-laws.

iii. Develop short compelling materials (Policy Briefs), based on the analysis of the legislative and policy framework, that can be used for advocacy purposes.

Work Assignment Overview: Deliverables/Outputs (1): Analyze and assess the legal and policy framework regulating childcare and its alignment with European and international standards, with a focus on the Family law, including but not limited to the following matters: adoption, foster care, co-parenting. The analysis and assessment should be guided and include best practices. Tasks/Activities a) Conduct desk review of the national legal and policy framework and compare it with the European and international standards. Identify best practices of European legislation. Timeline: Five working days by 15 June 2024 b) Organize at least three online focus groups with professionals, ministry representatives, practitioners, CSO representatives. Timeline: Three working days by 20 June 2024 c) Organize at least three online meetings with the National Legal Working Group for the revision of the Family Law. Timeline: Three working days by 30 August 2024 Deliverables/Outputs (2): Deliver an analysis with concrete recommendations and amendments for the Family Law, and other legal acts where relevant. The recommendations should include concrete wording of legal articles, and examples of articles in European legal acts which are in line with international standards. The analysis should also provide an overview of the need to adopt/revise by-laws.

Tasks/Activities

(a) Develop a draft analysis with concrete recommendations and amendments for the Family Law, and other legal acts where relevant, providing: i) concrete wording of legal articles, ii) examples of articles in European legal acts which are in line with international standards and a iii) overview of the need to adopt/revise by-laws for the successful implementation of the legislative framework. Timeline: Five working days by 15 July 2024 (b) Organize an online workshop to present the analysis, recommendations and concrete legal articles to professionals, CSO representatives and other key stakeholders. Timeline: One working day by 1 September 2024. (c) Amend the analysis, recommendations and draft articles based on the feedback received from the workshop. Timeline: One working day by 30 September 2024.

Deliverables/Outputs (3): Develop and deliver short compelling materials, based on the analysis of the legislative and policy framework, that can be used for advocacy purposes. Tasks/Activities: (a) Develop three one pagers for advocacy purposes, based on the conducted analysis and recommendations. The one pagers should be developed based on the target audiences: 1) professionals; 2) parliamentarians and decision makers; 3) general public. Timeline: Three working days by 30 August 2024 (b) Amend the one-pagers based on feedback received from UNICEF Country office and key stakeholders. Timeline: One working day by 30 September 2024

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

▪ A university degree in law. Exceptions can be made for professionals having a degree in another field but with substantive professional experience with legal revisions. Advanced degree is considered as an asset;

▪ At least 10 years of experience and expertise in the area of childcare and legislative reforms. Previous contribution in the development of Family laws, foster care, adoption and co-parenting is considered an asset;

▪ Demonstrated mastery of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and relevant international standards in the area of childcare, social and child protection;

▪ Previous work experience with UNICEF will be considered as an advantage.

▪ Excellent command of English language.

▪ Strong advocacy, facilitation and communication skills.

▪ Excellent writing skills.

▪ Prior experience working with the UN system and/or international development agencies is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors 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.

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.

Remarks:

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

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.

Added 17 days ago - Updated 5 days ago - Source: unicef.org