Full-Time Individual Contractor: Alternative Care (Migration) Expert - Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, Rome, Italy


11.5 months, home-based in Italy with monthly field travel

  • Job no: 549957
  • Contract type: Consultancy
  • Duty Station: Rome
  • Level: Consultancy
  • Location: Italy
  • Categories: Child Protection

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, Protection

Background and Scope of Work


According to the data of Italy’s Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, as of January 2022, there were 11,542 unaccompanied and separated children in Italy, of whom 11,227 (97.3%) were boys and 315 (2.7%) females arriving primarily from Bangladesh, Tunisia and Egypt for boys and Côte d'Ivoire, Albania and Somalia for girls. Sicily continues to host the largest number of unaccompanied and separated children with almost 28% of the total, followed by Calabria (11.1%), Lombardy (10.6%), Emilia Romagna (7.9) and Friuli Venezia Giulia /7.9%). The majority of unaccompanied and separated children is adolescent, specifically, 64.6% is aged 17 and 22.6% is aged 16. Among UASC girls, 37.1% of them is aged 17 and 25.4% is aged 16, while 37.5% is aged 15 or less.

According to data from Ministry of Interior, as of March 19th and since the conflict in Ukraine started, 55.711 Ukrainian people have been official registered in Italy, of which 28.537 women, 4.776 men and 22.398 children. The number is to be considered underestimated, since a number of children, especially those evacuated from Institutions in Ukraine, have been not registered. The number of separate minors (14-17 years) are increasing, all claiming to join mothers or grandmothers in Italy, while it is likely that the number of unaccompanied children will increase.

Despite the efforts of the Italian Government, challenges are still faced in relations to ensuring protection and social inclusion for refugee and migrant children: the highly fragmented system generates disparities in terms of quality of services, care and capacity of frontline workers across the Country. At the same time, whilst some unaccompanied and separated children hosted in reception centres demonstrate resilience and a strong willingness to move forward on their migratory project, emotional difficulties of others are clearly discernible in the feelings of apathy, disconnectedness and incapacity to relate to others. These difficulties are also triggered by their long stay in the reception centres and their very young age.

According to UN Alternative Care Guidelines issued in 2010, the family should be the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth, well-being and protection of children. Every child and young person, including those who live outside the parental care, should live in a supportive, protective and caring environment that promotes his/her full potential. According to the Italian legislation, the Law n. 184/1983 “Right of the child to a family" (subsequently amended by Laws 149/2001 and 173/2015) provides the legislative framework of the foster care system but, especially for the foster care of unaccompanied and separated children, the high number of actors with competences in this area generates an additional layer of complexity. While the reception system is coordinated and monitored by the Ministry of Interior, the development of policies, including the national guidelines on foster care, falls within the competencies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, which developed in 2012 the Guidelines on foster care and in 2017 the Guidelines on residential care. On the other end and from an operational point of view, the Municipal Social Services have the responsibility of promoting foster care at local level, identifying, selecting and supporting children and families, while the Juvenile Courts must appoint the foster families and monitor the care provided.

While Law 47/2017 regarding the protection of unaccompanied children, establishes that foster care should be considered as the first option for unaccompanied and separated children and preferred to the reception in centres, no additional human, financial or technical resources are provided to enhances Municipalities’ capacity to implement the law. As a result, as of mid-2021 only 3% of the total of unaccompanied and separated children registered in the reception system is placed in foster families. As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen the foster care system for unaccompanied and separated children, the Ministry of Interior launched the call for proposals “Promozione dell’affido nel quadro del sistema nazionale di accoglienza dei Minori Stranieri non Accompagnati (MSNA)” which attributed a total of Euro 3,000,000.00 to seven programmes.

The recent influx of Ukrainian children is also putting new challenges to the reception system. The Italian government declared a state of emergency until 31 December 2022 to aid the Ukrainian population and nominated Department of Civil Protection to ensure the coordination between the various operational levels carrying out the emergency response. The head of the Civil liberties and immigration department at MoI as the commissioner to coordinate the measures and procedures to assist unaccompanied children from Ukraine.

Specific measures have been put in place to increase reception availability, including increase of capacity of CAS (Emergency Accommodation Centres), and SAI (Reception and Integration System). In Italy numerous evacuation initiatives held by local associations or municipalities are involving Ukrainian children coming from institutions adopting unclear procedures and posing significant concerns. While complete data is not available, observations and visits are confirming that groups of children with disabilities and serious medical concerns are arriving through various and often unstructured ways. A variety of initiatives led by Civil Society is taking place, including promoting Italian families hosting Ukrainian families with children. A clear public governance of these processes is needed, to allow solidarity initiatives are sustainable and al safeguarding measures are in place to ensure safety and protection of children and mothers.

UNICEF, building of the experience gained in the last years in implementing foster care programmes for unaccompanied and vulnerable children, and given its inclusion as one of the models to be tested in the pilot phase of the EU Child Guarantee in Italy, will support the Ministry of Interior in the monitoring, analysis and standardization of family based alternative care solutions, including State-financed interventions, to facilitate the setting of minimum standards and child safeguarding, and promote the use of quality foster care solutions for unaccompanied and separated children in Italy as well as to facilitate the coordination between institutional and non-institutional actors involved in foster care.

Purpose of the Assignment


The purpose of this assignment is to provide technical support on the improvement of the reception system for unaccompanied and separated children to diversify options including foster care for UASC and other form of family-based care arrangements for families. The individual contractor will work under supervision of the Child Protection Specialist.

The individual contractor will provide technical support to strengthen the capacity of the reception system to include foster care for UASC and family based care arrangements for families, including through the promotion of standardization of current local practices of foster care of unaccompanied and separated children, the organization of exchanges between the implementing Local Governments and Civil Society Organizations, the facilitation of the coordination with other relevant national-level institutional actors involved in foster care for unaccompanied and separated children, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, and the analysis of the feasibility and set of methodological tools for accelerated process for foster care for unaccompanied and separated children under 14 years of age.

In doing so the individual contractor will:

  • Provide technical support to collect information on practices happening at local level involving Ukrainian families and children and civil society organizations (including faith-based ones) and provide guidance to ensure minimum standards are in place, including child safeguarding – in coordination with relevant local authorities.
  • Review currently implemented AMIF-financed projects on foster care for unaccompanied children to identify emerging and promising practices and standardize procedures and tools to be used by both institutional stakeholders and CSOs. Tools include, but are not limited to, a facilitators’ manual for the training of potential foster families, standardized tools for the identification, selection and matching of children in need of foster care and foster families, a practical guidance for Municipalities interested in establishing/strengthening their foster care systems etc.
  • Conduct monitoring activities and analyse and document progresses, gaps and bottlenecks of the foster care system for unaccompanied and separated children in Italy and family-based care arrangements for families to provide recommendations for its strengthening.
  • Facilitate the coordination and exchange of relevant stakeholders implementing foster care for unaccompanied and separated children and family-based care arrangements for families to ensure knowledge sharing and complementarity of interventions, including through the organization of periodic update and exchange sessions.
  • Analyse the feasibility conditions and support the development of tools for the testing of expedited process for foster care for unaccompanied and separated children under 14 years of age arriving by sea.

Work Assignment Overview


Tasks / Milestone Deliverables / Outputs Timeline / Deadline
Monitoring of foster care for unaccompanied and separated children and family-based care arrangement for families for the strengthening of the system and the standardization of procedures and tools Monthly monitoring reports Monthly
Technical guidance on minimum standards requirements for foster care of UASC and family-based care arrangements for families, including child safeguarding Month 3
Toolkit for institutional and non-institutional actors working on foster care for unaccompanied and separated children based on promising practices identified Month 11
Facilitate the coordination between the relevant actors working in foster care, including foster care for unaccompanied and separated children Organization of interinstitutional thematic meetings Quarterly
Stakeholders’ engagement report
Analyse the feasibility conditions and support the development of tools for the testing of expedited process for foster care for unaccompanied and separated children under 14 years of age Feasibility analysis Month 3
SOPs for expedited foster care process Month 6
Report on field missions on key areas of disembarkation for the analysis and stakeholders’ consultation on the expedited foster care process Quarterly

Estimated Duration of the Contract


11.5 months (April 2022 - March 2023)

Individual Contractor's Work Place and Official Travel


The assignment will be home-based in Italy. The Individual Contractor is required on a full-time basis for the period of the contract.

The Individual Contractor will travel 3 days per month to field locations in Latium, Lombardia, Veneto, Sicily, Emilia-Romagna, etc. The Consultant 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 2,500.

Travel Clause

  • 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…


  • Master’s in Law, Political Science, Social Policy, Social Sciences or a related field;
  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant professional work in child protection, working in design, development, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of alternative care solutions in humanitarian and/or migratory settings;
  • Proven knowledge of national and local contexts with regard to alternative care and migration and in particular with the protection of unaccompanied and separated children;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children as well as similar international and national normative tools;
  • Demonstrated capacity of engagement of Authorities and relevant stakeholders;
  • Fluency in Italian and English 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, bearing in mind that the maximum monthly fee for this assignment is EUR 3,200, travels not included. Applications without fees will not be accepted. 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.

  • Advertised: W. Europe Daylight Time
  • Deadline: W. Europe Daylight Time