International Consultant to Support the development of National Guidelines and Strategy for Alternative Care of Children in Nigeria
The purpose of this consultancy is to support the development of National Guidelines and Strategy for Alternative Care of Children (Including foster-care, kinship care, residential care, children in correctional institutions and those within the Islamic/koranic educational system). in Nigeria. The guidelines and strategy developed will be reviewed by a technical committee and the Sub-Committee on Alternative Care and relevant stakeholders before validation and adoption by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.
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For every child, Protection
Millions of children around the world are without, or at risk of losing parental care and face significant challenges in their daily lives which often have long term implications well into adulthood. The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs estimates that there are 17.5 million orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria.
The rising poverty levels, the insurgency in the North East and the banditry in the North West is no doubt contributing to an increase of these numbers. This is in addition to the number of children in street situations, separated and unaccompanied children as well as children without parental care. All vulnerable children are susceptible to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. There is an obligation on the part of the government, based on extant international and national laws like the Child Rights Convention (CRC), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), and the Child Rights Act (CRA) of 2003, to reduce the levels of vulnerability of children and to promote their overall well-being. This is intrinsically linked to the implementation of the National Priority Action for Vulnerable Children 2021 – 2030 developed by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The NPA is premised on the understanding that investment in the poorest and most vulnerable children in Nigeria is a prerequisite towards achievement of not only the SDG 2030 specific goals but also entrenching a sustainable leadership and economic growth for Nigeria.
The need to enhance the implementation of the rights of the child guaranteed under the CRC led to the development of the United National Guidelines for Alternative Care for Children. The Guidelines which set out policy and practice as it relates to the principles of necessity and appropriateness aims to support efforts to keep children at home, in the care of their family, and failing this, to find another appropriate and permanent solution, including adoption and foster care. It also aims to assist and encourage governments to better carry out their obligations and responsibilities and to guide policies, decisions and activities of all actors, both public and private, who are concerned with the welfare and protection of children bearing in the best interests of the child as the overriding objective.
While these developments have taken place at the global level, the alternative care system in Nigeria is facing multiple challenges. A weak policy institutional framework constrains the alternative care system in Nigeria to regulate the standard of care. Accurate and reliable official data on children living in alternative care is unknown. Accountability mechanisms to ensure the standard of care by alternative care providers, including foster caregivers and institutions, are also not well established. Although the law providers for registers on alternative care to be kept, official records typically capture only a fraction of the number of children in the alternative care system as children in private fostering, private-owned institutions, and children in the Islamic education system. The Government of Nigeria has demonstrated commitment by establishing a National Sub-Committee on Alternative Care for Children to improve the rights and well-being of children without the appropriate care in line with the CRC and UN Guidelines on alternative care for children.
Despite the high number of children in formal and informal alternative care in Nigeria, there are no equivalent guidelines to the UN Guidelines to regulate the policy and practice of alternative care. The effect of this gap is that many children who are at risk of losing parental care and those in alternative care are exposed to multiple vulnerabilities, including from those whose responsibility it is to protect and care for them.
In furtherance of the UNICEF support to the government of Nigeria Child Protection System Strengthening programme, the Nigeria Country Office is supporting the government and CSOs to implement initiatives aimed at effective and efficient prevention and response to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children. These include strengthening the social service workforce for child protection; harmonization of case management tools and SOPs; mapping and assessment of community-based child protection groups and structures and strengthening the legal and policy framework for child protection.
To tackle the above-mentioned issues, the terms of reference are for the recruitment of an International consultant to support the development of National Guidelines for Alternative Care of Children in Nigeria and Implementation strategy, that aligns with the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care for Children, but adapting it to suit the context of Nigeria, given its multi-ethnic, diverse religious and cultural configurations. The consultant recruited for this assignment will support a national consultant identified by UNICEF and its national partners in the development of the guidelines as well as a strategy for its implementation and operationalization.
The consultancy will include conducting analysis of the current situation of alternative care standards, legal and policy framework and thorough desk review of the alternative care institutions in Nigeria and the number of children currently in alternative care system. In carrying out the assignment, the Consultant is required to use a collaborative approach ensuring that input Government especially the National Sub-committee on alternative care, SOS and UNICEF Nigeria and other stakeholders embedded in the guidelines and policy.
How can you make a difference?
The Consultant(s) working under the supervision of UNICEF Child Protection Chief, in close collaboration with the Child Protection Manager and the Child Protection Specialist on Social Welfare will be responsible for the following:
Work collaboratively with the national consultant to develop the National Guidelines for Alternative Care
- Contribute to refining the methodology, agenda for the meeting to validate the draft by the national consultant.
- Review the draft national guidelines developed by the national consultant to identify gaps and areas of inconsistency or non-conformity with the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care of children.
- Revise the draft guidelines to ensure its compliance with international best practices.
- Submit the revised national guidelines after the revisions of the draft received.
Support the technical validation of the guidelines
Work with the national consultant to develop a framework for the technical review of the draft national guidelines on alternative care for children.
Review the comments and recommendations arising from the technical review exercise.
Work with the national consultant to incorporate relevant recommendations that will improve the content and impact of the national guidelines.
Develop a strategy for the implementation of the National Guidelines on Alternative care.
- Develop a draft strategy for the implementation of the guidelines.
- Revise the strategy based on feedback from the technical review process.
- Incorporate revisions based on the feedback from the technical review.
Develop a toolkit for Capacity building of government and CSOs on Implementation of the National Guidelines on Alternative Care for Children.
- Develop a training tool kit including manuals, handouts for training of trainers and step-down training equivalents.
- Facilitate a training of trainers on Implementation of the National Guideline on Alternative Care of Children.
- Draft National Guidelines for Alternative Care for Children in Nigeria.
- Revised National Guidelines for Alternative Care for Children in Nigeria which incorporates recommendations from the technical review of the draft document.
- Draft national strategy for the implementation of the National Guidelines for Alternative Care of Children in Nigeria.
- Final Report of the consultancy.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
Advanced University degree (Master/PG) in a relevant field of study (Law/Social sciences/Humanities/Social Work) with minimum of 5 years of relevant experience.
• Excellent knowledge of law, social service systems, child protection systems.
• At least 5 years of relevant experience in development of guidelines, policies, strategies, reports and assessments.
• Proven experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis, research and report writing.
• Knowledge of human rights-based and gender approach to programming
• Experience in facilitating consultations with government representatives, NGOs, academia, children, and other stakeholders.
• Strong analytical skills – references to previous work or institutions
• Previous experience with UNICEF is an advantage.
• Fluency in English
• Excellent writing skills
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).
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.
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.