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This Terms of Reference is developed for an Evaluability Assessment (EA) which aims to look at the extent to which national child care reforms in Europe and Central Asia region (ECAR) with a strong focus on de-institutionalization (DI), including in particular for children with disabilities, are evaluable and can be evaluated in a reliable and credible fashion. The EA serves as a tool to assess the strategic and technical soundness of the proposed evaluation in response to the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC), United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. It also takes into account any relevant regional frameworks, which in the case of ECAR, would include the EU’s commitment to support Governments’ transition from institutional to family and community based care; and the Regional Office’s (RO) flagship child protection programme on de-institutionalization. As such, the EA does not aim to provide summative assessments, findings, or prescriptive expert recommendations. Rather, it is intended to interrogate approaches developed and applied by governments to address child care reforms over a period of time, in particular to achieve sustainable reductions in the number of children in institutional care that are done with quality, and result in the expansion of family support services and family-based alternative care, looking at particularly vulnerable groups such as children with disabilities.
Several countries in UNICEF ECAR have been working on child care reforms with a focus on DI for over a decade with a collective wealth of experience and lessons learned that could benefit countries in the region and beyond. A number of study countries will be selected by the EA consultant in close consultation with UNICEF to represent the diversity of contexts in which child care reforms with DI objectives, including for children with disability, are being implemented.
Therefore, the principal objectives of the evaluability assessment to:
Scope of the Evaluability Assessment:
Period to be covered: The EA will cover the period of UNICEF ECARO’s current Flagship Results (2018-2021). However, the assessment timeframe should be informed by the assessment, based on timelines of reform implementation in selected countries that we would like to learn from, and relevant frameworks of engagement at the regional level, including with the EU.
Sectoral coverage: The EA will focus on the results of the ECARO Flagship Results (2018-2021) that is on deinstitutionalization, focusing in particular on children with disabilities and other complex needs. While spread throughout other programme areas, deinstitutionalization results are cross-cutting and interlinked, which means that other sectoral areas (Education, ECD, Social Policy, health, communication, C4D) and the associated ‘cross-cutting’ areas have a potential stake in the evaluability assessment.
Thematic coverage: The EA will cover national child care reform initiatives with a strong focus on deinstitutionalization including prevention and gatekeeping, provision for children with disabilities, planning for change, executing transformation, including redirecting resources from institutional care to expanded family and community based services, overall implementation frameworks and monitoring.
Geographic coverage: The assessment is intended to sample countries where UNICEF ECARO works. A draft list includes Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Turkey, Montenegro and North Macedonia. A final list of study countries will be identified during the inception phase.
Scope of evaluability assessment: Although some evaluability assessments focus narrowly on the technical elements surrounding programme logic and measurement (e.g., the existence of a theory of change and monitoring and evaluation plans, the SMARTness of indicators, data availability), the present exercise will examine evaluability more broadly (in addition to the narrow focus). Specifically, it will assess all of the key strategic elements including partnerships and common understanding/vision that should be in place in in order to maximize the likelihood that the deinstitutionalization programme will be successful in supporting achievement of its higher level results.
Roles and Responsibilities in the EA process
The activity will be managed by the ECARO Evaluation and CP teams and conducted by external contractor.
The RO will be responsible for the day-to-day oversight and management of EA and for management of the budget.
A form of stakeholder / advisory group will be set up. Further discussion is needed on the form and membership of such a group but it will consist of relevant RO advisers, EU counterparts, UNICEF HQ representation, and other relevant stakeholders; and will be co-chaired by the ECA Regional CP Advisor and ECA Regional Evaluation Advisor. It will provide guidance and supervision to the EA and subsequent evaluation.
The RO will assure the quality of EA and guarantee its alignment with UNEG Norms and Standards and Ethical Guidelines and provide quality assurance checking that the findings and conclusions are relevant and proposed adaptations are actionable.
All major deliverables will be reviewed firstly by RO (zero draft) and then by the Advisory Board and COs.
UNICEF as a commissioner takes the accountability of EA and ECARO is designated as a supervisor for EA. Support for this assignment will be provided by ECARO Regional Disability Focal Point.
The EA Manager will have the following responsibilities:
The RO and Advisory Group will:
The EA consultant will report to the EA Manager and conduct the EA by fulfilling the contractual arrangements in line with the TOR, UNEG/OECD norms and standards and Ethical Guidelines; this includes developing of the inception report, drafting and finalizing the final reports and other deliverables, and briefing the commissioner on the progress and key findings and recommendations, as needed. The EA consultant should also adhere to UNICEF’s Evaluation Policy, to UNEG’s ethical guidelines for UN evaluations and to UNICEF Reporting Standards. EA Consultant will sign a no conflict of interest attestation. The EA consultant must demonstrate personal and professional integrity during the whole process of the EA. The consultant must respect the right of institutions and individuals to provide information in confidence and ensure that sensitive data cannot be traced to its source. Further, the consultant must respect ethics of research while working with children including using age appropriate consent forms, age appropriate data collection, and principle of do no harm. Furthermore, the consultant must take care that those involved in the EA have an opportunity to examine the statements attributed to them. The EA process must be sensitive to beliefs, manners, and customs of the social and cultural environment in which they will work. Especially, consultant must be sensitive to and address issues of protection, discrimination and gender inequality. Furthermore, the consultant is not expected to assess the personal performance of individuals and must balance an assessment of management functions with due consideration of this principle.
Workplan and deliverables
A tentative time frame for the evaluation is provided below. The evaluation is expected to be completed within five months upon signing the contract (July – November 2021). This might be subject to change depending on the prevailing situation on ground at the time of EA. During the five months, the following list of activities are expected to be conducted:
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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.
All interested applicants are requested to include in their submission:
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.
 Helen Jones (2019) Deinstitutionalization for children with disabilities: technical guidance for UNICEF’s engagement in national reform efforts. UNICEF ECARO