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For every child, results
In the context of migration and asylum, Italy continues to be one the most affected frontline country, as well as transit one for all those migrants and refugee who are trying to reach Norther European countries. They enter the European continent by sea, predominantly from Africa and the Middle East. Three years after the peak of the crisis, refugees and migrants continued undertaking dangerous journeys to seek safety and a better life for themselves and their families in Europe. In 2014/2017 the peak of number of newly arrivals happened, while in 2018/2019 were markedly down compared, due to cooperation between Italy and Libya. In 2020 the number started to increase again, and the trend is confirmed during the first semester of 2021. In 2020, a total of 32,563 people arrived by Mediterranean Sea, of which 4,224 were unaccompanied children. In the first 6 months of 2021, newly arrivals from sea amount to 20,359 included 3,527 unaccompanied children.
Furthermore, Sicily continued to host the majority of unaccompanied children coming from the Central Mediterranean route. According to data of Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, in 2020 4,687 UASC arrived by sea, while 7.080 were hosted in the reception system as of 31 December 202.
Even if a lot of efforts have been made by Italian authorities during the last decades to ensure the protection and inclusion of unaccompanied children, several gaps and constraints are persisting.
The law n. 47/2017 for the protection of unaccompanied children, is seen as one of the most protective and advanced in the European context, establishing a clear and solid legal framework. Despite this, its implementation is still encountering challenges and difficulties.
One of the most innovative part of the law is about the promotion of the “volunteer guardians”. In general terms, guardians have wide-ranging responsibilities, from representing children in legal or other administrative proceedings, to ensuring that all decisions concerning children are taken in their best interests and account for the child’s views, as well as acting as a bridge between the child and other actors in the child protection system. The law 47.2017 emphasized the importance of individual support for unaccompanied children by introducing a new guardianship system, with ordinary citizens appointed as volunteer guardians. This system has helped to resolve major challenges under the old guardianship system, including conflicts of interest and significant delays in asylum and other processes requiring action by legal guardians (usually mayors or social service professionals).
The law also defines the governance structure of the guardianship voluntary system: Regional Ombudspersons’ Offices oversee the selection and training of new volunteer guardians, who are then formally appointed by juvenile courts, based on nationally agreed criteria and standards. Good coordination between local authorities is crucial for the functioning of the volunteer guardianship system, namely between juvenile courts, Ombudspersons for Children and Adolescents, social services, immigration police and prefectures.
Volunteer guardians can play a key role in the asylum and migration systems, they are external players that can ensure fairness of the procedures, encourage local authorities to undertake appropriate measures and connect services, without additional cost, given the voluntary nature of the model. They are critical, for example, with regards to the age assessment procedure, ensuring children’s access to information at all times, defining and individual social inclusion path, facilitating child’s access to legal aid, ensuring access to services and educational opportunities, as well as facilitating the transition to adulthood.
Volunteer guardians are likely to be confronted with a lot of complex and diversified cases, requiring high qualified knowledge of the legal and protection system as well as of the main relevant stakeholder and public authorities. They are called to develop solid skills in evaluating and determining the best interest of the child in any situation, coordinating with all the other relevant actors.
Since 2017, UNICEF is working with local authorities and National Ombudsperson for childhood and adolescence, to support volunteer guardians in performing their own duties, establishing a model of support including legal advice and mediation, advice on pedagogical approaches, advice on supporting vulnerable children – including survivors of violence, managing the child-guardian relationship, including cultural diversity, and facilitating the connections with services and public authorities. Monitoring and supporting offices for volunteer guardians has been established in Palermo, Catania and Messina in cooperation with local Ombudsperson and Municipalities, and the model has been documented.
How can you make a difference?
Based on the consolidated cooperation with the local authorities in Sicily, the consultancy will specifically focus on supporting the voluntary guardianship model for unaccompanied children in Palermo, based on the work already done.
Under the guidance of the Child Protection Specialist, the Guardianship Expert will contribute to the effective and efficient implementation of the Law n.47/2017, providing direct support to the volunteer guardians in performing their duties, through training, technical advice and facilitation of the interaction with the public administration, services and local opportunities for social inclusion. The consultant will work in close coordination with the Department for Social Services of the Municipality of Palermo and the Municipal Ombudsperson for Childhood and Adolescence to:
- Support volunteer guardians in performing their own duties, through technical advice and counselling, with particular regards to best interest determination;
- Facilitate the access of unaccompanied children to local services as appropriate;
- Facilitate the cooperation between guardians, reception facilities and all the relevant public actors (Social Services, Prefetture, Children’s Court);
- Provide guardians with training, both through direct roll-out of UNICEF trainings and participating to trainings organized by the Regional Ombudsperson;
- Collect information from the guardians and the children to inform advocacy efforts;
- Produce a toolkit for guardians for best interest determination
- Promote the platform U-report on the move among the volunteer guardians to reach the unaccompanied children under their supervision;
- Develop, test and manage a new facebook page dedicated for volunteer guardians to facilitate sharing of information on rights, available services and opportunities for social inclusion for unaccompanied children.
- Duration: The consultant will be expected to work full-time for 11.5 months, between November 2021 and October 2022.
- Duty Station and travel: The consultant will be home-based in Palermo but will be expected to travel throughout Sicily, depending on COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Consultant will be responsible for organizing their travel. All travel expenses (tickets, accommodation, public transport, meals) will be reimbursed.
- Payment: The consultant will be paid monthly upon timely and satisfactory submission of deliverables as per the table above. The maximum amount for travel is USD 1,000.
- 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.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- An university degree in Psychology, Pedagogical sciences, Social Sciences, Political Science, or other related disciplines.
- At least 5 years of professional experience with refugees and migrants or vulnerable children along with extensive experience in the field or protection is required.
- Proven experience to work with local authorities is required.
- Proven knowledge of the national Italian context with regards to reception, protection and inclusion of migrant and refugee children is required.
- Experience with child participation is desired.
- Ability to work through networking and partnership is required.
- Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships is required.
- Fluency in Italian and English is required.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s 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.
Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.
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.
Applicants are invited to:
- Complete their UNICEF profile FULLY;
- Attach CV and Cover Letter;
- Indicate a monthly fee, bearing in mind that the maximum monthly allowed for this consultancy is USD 2,500, 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.
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.
 MoI, Data on sea arrivals: http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.dlci.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/cruscotto_statistico_giornaliero_31-12-2019.pdf, MoLSP
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