Child Protection Expert
3 months with the possibility of an extension
English is required. Russian/Ukrainian is an asset.
As of 17 March 2022, Slovakia has received some 238,000 refugees from Ukraine, a significant majority of whom are women and children. Refugees arrive through three border crossing points in the east of the country, and while most continue to Bratislava and in some cases onwards to other European countries, others remain in designated Hot Spot for several hours or a day before moving westwards. Those arriving in Bratislava and opting to remain in Slovakia either stay in the capital or, in the case of those who do not have alternative options, and are accommodated in various sites around the country.
Estimates suggest that children make up about 40% of refugees arriving from Ukraine. Children have experienced the brunt of the hostilities, many of whom have seen or heard explosions or shootings, witnessed or heard of deaths and destruction, and have been separated from one or both parents, or other family members. They display high levels of distress, require timely and effective identification, assessments and response services. Children are also at risk of trafficking, violence and abuse. Unaccompanied children are in need to appropriate alternative care. While those identified as unaccompanied are provide care by the state agencies, many more pass through border crossing points and service delivery points undetected.
The Government of Slovakia, municipal and city councils, civil society groups and local NGOs are mounting a range of response services. However, much more needs to be done as arrivals are likely to increase, and those staying on in Slovakia requiring support to access services, enroll in schools, and on-going MHPSS support.
UNHCR is scaling up its response, with child protection being a key priority. Delivering effective and timely protection for children through services, support to national child protection systems, training and capacity building, mainstreaming child protection within other sectoral response and support to coordination are critical.
Aim of the Mission
To strengthen UNHCR’s child protection programme across the country through capacity-development of staff and partners, supporting national child protection system through technical inputs, strengthening inter-agency coordination on child protection, and supporting the expansion of child protection interventions, including the joint UNHCR-UNICEF Blue Dots initiative, Best Interests Procedure (BIP) and associated referral pathways for children at risk, alternative care for UASC, and prevention and response initiatives that involve meaningfully children, youth and their communities.
The deployee will contribute to and guide the strengthening of a support system, develop and expand programmes for child protection in collaboration with national authorities and partners, and through training and coaching UNHCR staff and partners (including national counterparts) and strengthen coordination mechanisms.
Under the supervision of Senior Protection Officer, the Child Protection Officer will:
Support the coordination of child protection inter-agency efforts:
- Strengthening refugee child protection coordination mechanism, in consultation with the government, the Refugee Protection WG and partners, including supporting governments in leading the coordination of child protection
Support Child protection services and mainstreaming, including identification and reception:
- Coordinate timely child protection data and evidence collection, analysis and dissemination; including through integrating child protection into multi-sectoral and protection specific assessments and monitoring and ensuring the meaningful participation of children and communities.
- Integrate child protection considerations in the strategic inter-agency plans, fundraising and advocacy efforts.
- Provide child protection technical guidance to UNHCR’s sectors and partners, particularly protection, education, health and cash assistance and health, to effectively mainstream child protection in UNHCR’s overall response.
- Ensure that feedback mechanisms are child-friendly and are in line with Age, Gender and Diversity approach.
Community outreach and enhanced communication with communities
- Advocate for early identification of children at risk in border procedures and reception and set up referral pathways.
- Establish and/or strengthen partnerships for child protection with community-based, local, national, and international organizations, with a focus on ensuring continuity and sustainability.
- Support the expansion / strengthening of one-stop centres (Blue Dots) for information dissemination, provision of urgent services, referrals, including Integrate child protection services and information within UNHCR helplines and online platforms.
- Support information desks (run by government or partner NGOs) at the main border crossing points with child-friendly information material and referrals to available services.
- Support the implementation of national child protection case management and strengthen UNHCR’s complementary Best Interests Procedure for children at heightened risk including standardization of key tools and processes (identification, case management forms, SOPs and referral pathways,) in line with UNHCR BIP Guidelines on Assessing and Determining the Best Interests of the Child.
- Advocate with and provide technical support to national authorities on promoting family-based care for unaccompanied and separated children and liaise with ICRC and Red Cross on developing and disseminating information on family tracing and restoring family links.
- Support the integration of child protection in the UNHCR’s planning, reporting, communication and fund raising.
- Ensure compliance with UNHCR’s child protection framework, priorities and commitments, as well as other aligned policies on age, gender, diversity (AGD) and accountability to affected populations (AAP), GBV and youth empowerment.
Learning needs and capacity development
Perform other related duties as required.
- Engage community networks and volunteers to provide information to protect and support children
- Support community-based activities including providing safe spaces and conducting recreational activities for children
- A minimum 6 years of work experience (5 years for master’s degree holders) in protection/child protection in refugee /humanitarian settings.
- At least 3 years of progressively responsible experience in the field of protection of children, broader protection or social work involving children and youth.
- Applied experience in child protection prevention and response.
- Experience managing child protection case management programmes, including implementation of the Best Interests Procedure.
- Demonstrated knowledge of and implementation of multi-sectorial child protection prevention and response programming.
- Knowledge of protection in forced displacement settings, knowledge and demonstrated use of UNHCR and Interagency child protection tools and guidance.
- Strong experience in interacting with and building partnerships and synergies with UN agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations.
- Extensive skills and experience in interviewing and working with children, adolescent and families and supervising staff on case management of at-risk children.
- Demonstrated knowledge of community communication and engagement approaches.
- Demonstrated coordination and consensus building skills to manage multiple stakeholder consultation processes.
- Training and coaching skills/facilitation of learning
- Good IT skills including database management skills
- Excellent communication skills in English (oral and written).
- Ability to communicate in Ukrainian and Russian an advantage
- Organizational Awareness
- Teamwork & Collaboration
- Commitment to Continuous Learning
- Client & Result Orientation
- Analytical Thinking
- Political Awareness
- Stakeholder Management