Background and Context
The process of de-institutionalization (DI) of substitute care for children in Slovakia has been implemented systematically since the 1990s and continues to be one of the main priorities of the Slovak Government. The objectives of the transformation and DI of substitute, or alternative, care system are to reduce both the number of children placed in institutional care, as well as the negative effects of such care on the development of children.
The overall de-institutionalization process in Slovakia officially started with the adoption of the ‘Strategy for the De-institutionalization of the System of Social Services and Alternative Care in the Slovak Republic’ (the “DI Strategy “) in November 2011. The DI Strategy was later followed by the ‘National Action Plan for the transition from institutional to community-based care in the social services system 2012–2015’ and the ‘National Action Plan for the transition from institutional to community-based care in the social services system 2016 – 2020’ (the “DI Action Plans”).
The system of substitute care for children in Slovakia is based on a continuum of care organized in three distinct pillars:
- ) prevention of separation of child from birth family;
- ) provision of family-based substitute care (kinship care, foster care and professional substitute care);
- ) provision of residential substitute care (large and small scale).
According to its strategic documents on DI and substitute care for children, the overall strategic goals are: (i) to create conditions for children to grow up in their natural family environment, in the care of their parents; and (ii) to provide the necessary conditions so that children in need of substitute care can grow and develop in the best possible substitute family- or community-based care environments.
To achieve those two strategic goals, Slovakia needs to be able to monitor progress made in creating those conditions and environments and to evaluate the strategic outcomes that this process is intended to generate for children and their families; for example, a decrease in the number of children who require substitute care, a decrease in the number of children in institutional substitute care and an increase in the share of children in need of substitute care who are placed in family- or community-based care.
A comprehensive and inter-operable monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework for substitute care for children and sufficient M&E capacities to implement it are currently missing in Slovakia. The overall DI Strategy is reviewed by the Government on an annual basis through an Expert Committee that reports to the Cabinet of Ministers.
Slovakia has some important elements (e.g., data collection, limited analysis) already in place, but these would need to be brought together in a comprehensive and inter-operable M&E framework of substitute care for children. Slovakia recognizes that such a framework is an essential vehicle for improving policy outcomes and ultimately (i) helping families to cope with difficulties and (ii) providing the children in need of support or protection with the best possible environment in which they can grow and develop their full potential. Slovakia also recognizes that an effective M&E framework will support the attainment of the objectives set out in the DI Strategy.
To understand how successful the process of the DI of the substitute care of children in Slovakia has been, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (MoLSAF) is ready to monitor the effectiveness of the latest reforms and developments undertaken in the country. For this, the MoLSAF of the Slovak Republic has requested the European Commission (EC) to provide technical assistance to their ministry in developing a national M&E framework and building capacity of the relevant staff in applying the framework. In response to this request, EC and UNICEF formed a partnership to assist Slovakia in developing such a national M&E framework and in building capacity to implement, evaluate, and develop it further over time.
To successfully achieve the objective of the EU funded project (Action), there will be a core group formed of: a) an international consultant on DI/child care systems – who will serve as a senior expert to provide expertise and support in the area of DI and childcare/child protection system reforms; b) an international consultant on data and M&E to provide high level expertise on the development of the national M&E framework; c) a national consultant (to be based in Slovakia) to support the two international consultants with the development and delivery of the key tasks, and implementation.
In this context, the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO) is looking for a national consultant to be part of the core group mentioned above. The current ToRs sets out tasks and responsibilities needed for the national consultant.
Scope of Work
Overall, the national consultant will serve as liaison between ECARO and the team of the MoLSAF in the implementation of the Action by supporting activities in Slovakia. The consultant will provide technical expertise (as required for the specific activities as per the Action’s workplan) and admin/ logistical support in the implementation of the project of the Action (e.g., oversee the organization of meetings, workshops, identify services/vendors, etc.).
Besides, the following are the specific tasks expected from the national consultant (details of all tasks and activities as per the Description of the Action and the workplan will be discussed in more detail with the selected candidate):
- Acting as a key focal point for the organization of various working meetings/workshops/events in the Slovak Republic related to the Action’s activities (in close consultation with UNICEF ECARO and in accordance with UNICEF rules and regulations). This includes:
- Admin/logistical support with identifying the venue/catering/translation/interpretation, drafting agenda and the list of participants, sending out invitations, overseeing the comms/visibility aspects of the meetings/events, ensuring the presence of media (when and if necessary), ensuring EU visibility is strictly respected as per the Description of the Action.
- Acting as a rapporteur during the meetings/workshops when and if necessary and in agreement with the international consultants;
- Support an assessment of how substitute care for children is currently monitored and evaluated in Slovakia. This includes supporting two international consultants with preparation for and during the assessment:
(i) organization of a stakeholders’ consultation on the first draft report;
(ii) compiling feedback and comments from the stakeholders for the preparation of the final report on the assessment of M&E of substitute care for children in Slovakia.
The activity will be implemented in close collaboration with the MoLSAF and other key stakeholders in Slovakia.
- Support international consultants with the consultative process and the development of a proposal for a national M&E framework for substitute care for children and its implementation plan. In particular, this will include:
- Provision of inputs to the draft proposal and implementation plan for a national M&E framework for substitute care for children,
- Organization of a series of working meetings and a workshop with key national and selected international stakeholders in Bratislava to present the draft proposal and implementation plan, including logistics and inputs to the content.
This activity will be conducted through a series of meetings of an operational task force consisting of the MoLSAF and other selected key stakeholders that will develop the draft proposal for a national M&E framework and implementation plan. It will be implemented in close collaboration with the MoLSAF and other key stakeholders in Slovakia.
- Under the supervision of the international consultants and in close collaboration with the MoLSAF, support the mapping of key groups of stakeholders involved in the use of the new M&E framework and training needs assessment.
The key focus of this task will be around mapping of all key groups of stakeholders involved in the use of the M&E framework, for example, data providers, data analysts and data users. These key groups of stakeholders will come both from public institutions (for example, the Centres, Offices and Headquarters) and civil society organizations (for example, accredited subjects). Once the map has been developed, UNICEF will work with the MoLSAF to assess training needs. The results of the training needs assessment will inform the development of a tailor-made training program for (i) the training of stakeholders involved in the use of the new M&E framework and (ii) the training of a pool of expert trainers.
- Support the international consultants with the development of training program for expert trainers of the MoLSAF involved in the use of the new M&E framework. This will include:
- Provision of operational support to the work of the Expert Group that will be set up to provide expert opinion on the capacity building activities. The training program will be developed for expert trainers on the implementation of the new M&E framework. The training program will include at least the following elements: (i) the curricula for the training program; (ii) the facilitator’s guide; and (iii) all training materials. The training program will be focused on the provision of training to the experts within the MoLSAF structure and will be based on international good practices, guidance and standards.
- Support the process of the training program which will be developed in consultation with the MoLSAF, the other members of the task force that will develop the proposals of the M&E framework and implementation plan, and selected key national experts (e.g., on M&E, substitute care, training).
- Operational support with a series of meetings (approximately 3-5, exact number to be determined during the course of the Action) to develop the training modules on the topics that will be covered by the training of key groups of experts.
- Support the international consultants in facilitating the delivery of the training for expert trainers on the new M&E framework. This will include:
- Maintaining close contact with the MoLSAF on identifying and contracting a pool of expert trainers in collaboration with key stakeholders working on substitute care for children and on M&E in general;
- Organization of a training of trainers (ToT) (jointly with international consultants) in cooperation with MoLSAF. The training will last between 3-5 full working days (depending on the scope of the new M&E framework), will take place in Bratislava and involve at least 10 expert trainers. The national consultant is expected to ensure logistical organization of the training (invitations to the participants, venue, catering, presence of translators/interpreters, needed supplies, etc.);
- Support the presentation of the final proposals for an M&E framework for substitute care for children and its implementation plan, and the organization of a closing event of the Action including the oversight of the preparation and publication of advocacy and/or visibility materials (communication and visibility materials will be published in the Slovak Republic through a separate contract with the publishing agency);
- In the final month of the Action, a closing event will be organized in order to (i) present the final proposals for an M&E framework for substitute care for children and its implementation plan; (ii) to take stock of the progress and results achieved throughout the Action; and (iii) to discuss the exit strategy and next steps on improving the M&E for substitute care for children in Slovakia. UNICEF and MoLSAF teams will present the M&E framework and the implementation plan developed by the Action along with other products (e.g., training program and modules).
For this, the national consultant is expected to closely work with UNICEF ECARO to support:
- Organization of the closing event (everything related to admin/logistical aspects of the event) which will take place in Bratislava with support from MoLSAF. The event will be open to the public and will involve a wider group of stakeholders (around 50 representatives);
- Development of the advocacy and/or visibility materials (under guidance of UNICEF and MoLSAF project teams).
Applications close: 08 Nov 2019 11:55 PM Central Europe Standard Time