Child Protection Roster

Deadline for applications is 31 October

Hands raised in the air in front of UNICEF's logo

Job Number: 525850 | Vacancy Link

UNICEF is the United Nations Children's Fund. We work in 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of every child. UNICEF Bulgaria is working together with the Government, state institutions, United Nations partners, local authorities, media, private sector, academia, civil society organizations, parents, children and adolescents to implement the Country Programme for the period 2018 – 2022 agreed between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and UNICEF. The overall goal of the country partnership is to enable all children and adolescents in the country, including the most disadvantaged, to enjoy their rights and develop to their full potential in an inclusive and protective society.

UNICEF Bulgaria Country Office seeks to establish a roster of child protection experts for assignments in the country.  The Child Protection Roster serves as a human resources repository from which pre-vetted and well qualified child protection experts can be drawn quickly and efficiently. Becoming a child protection consultant on the UNICEF Bulgaria roster is based on a standard one-off application that may potentially open the door to multiple assignments. Successful applicants will be eligible for direct recruitment by the Country Office for a period of up to three years. This is therefore a unique opportunity for qualified individuals to submit a single application and, if successful, to be considered immediately for assignments in the relevant areas of expertise. 

The Terms of Reference for the Child Protection Roster are in two parts:

  1. GENERIC: All applicants are required to have a minimum set of qualifications, core competencies, technical background and experience regardless of specialised area of expertise;
  2. SPECIALISED: In addition, all applicants must have the minimum skills, technical background and experience required in one or more of the thematic areas related to child protection detailed below.

Consultants are required to indicate which of the thematic areas they have expertise in and for which they would like to be considered:


Successful applicants to the Child Protection Roster will be eligible for contracts to support the UNICEF Bulgaria Country Office through:

i) Technical and advisory assistance, ii) Research, studies, and other forms of documentation; iii) Support to the development of strategic plans, policy and legal frameworks; iv) Capacity building inclusive of training and support to the development of training iv) Support to programme development and planning, and v) Support to delivery, monitoring and the quality control of results.


Child protection is a rights-based and life-saving concern and a high priority for UNICEF. Preventing and responding to all forms of abuse, violence, exploitation, neglect and unnecessary separation from family is essential to ensuring children’s rights to survival, development and well-being.

The vision and approach of UNICEF is to create a protective environment, where all girls and boys under the age of 18 are free from harm; and where laws, services, behaviors and practices minimize children’s vulnerability, address risk factors, and strengthen children’s resilience. The approach emphasizes prevention as well as the accountability of governments to respond to violations in the best interests of the child. It enhances aid effectiveness by supporting national capacities and reflects children’s own roles as agents of change in strengthening the protective environment.

As part of the Country Programme for the period 2018 – 2022, UNICEF Bulgaria country office will continue to support the reforms in childcare and deinstitutionalization, through strengthening the child and social protections systems to progressively realize the right of every child to live in a family environment. UNICEF will focus on the development and implementation of intersectoral policies and interventions to strengthen the child protection system’s capacity to identify, prevent and respond to risks for children and the drivers of separation, including violence, and to provide integrated case management and family support.

Efforts will focus on developing quality standards and assurance mechanisms and on improving coordination to enhance the impact of social services and alternative-care settings (such as foster care and small group homes). The vision is to contribute to a strengthened child protection system which is better integrated with other social sectors—especially the social protection system— and is well-resourced and accountable.

The realization of the right of every child to live free from violence, abuse and harmful practices is a cross-cutting element throughout the country partnership. UNICEF will continue to work with the Government and other stakeholders to strengthen national and local capacities to prevent, identify, respond to and address violence against children. This component will contribute to improvement of legal and policy framework and its effective implementation, strengthening co-ordination mechanisms and data collection. UNICEF will also continue supporting the modelling of innovative multidisciplinary services (social, legal, psychological, medical) for prevention and support to child victims of violence and their parents.

UNICEF will continue working with government and parliament, police and justice professionals, bar associations, civil society organisations, children, young people and parents on ensuring children’s equitable access to justice. Efforts will be focused on advocacy and technical support for changes in the legal and policy framework, enhancing data collection, specialization and strengthening the capacity of professionals and development and implementation of child-sensitive procedures in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings.

In the last years, the escalation of international and domestic conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and the geographic location of Bulgaria on the route of asylum seekers and migrants from these regions towards Europe resulted in a considerable increase of the number of people coming to Bulgaria. Language barriers, insufficient resources and legislative gaps have posed difficulties to finding durable solutions for children, whether it is their integration in Bulgaria or reunification with family members in other countries. The challenging living conditions with no safe spaces for children expose them to violence, abuse and exploitation of adults that are also going through hardships themselves. The most vulnerable children – the unaccompanied and separated ones, suffer the most. All children on the move can become victims to multiple violations of their rights and grave forms of violence at any stage of their journey. Helping them to cope with psychological distress and have a life every child should have calls for urgent actions.


 All consultants on the child protection roster must meet the following criteria regardless of specialised area of expertise:

Qualifications, technical background and experience required:

  • Core values of commitment, inclusion and integrity
  • Advanced university degree in social sciences, law or another related field
  • Minimum 5 years’ relevant professional experience in child protection or related field
  • Excellent understanding of child protection issues
  • Knowledge and experience in the formulation, design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of child protection programmes, preferably in close coordination and cooperation with government bodies
  • Knowledge and experience in strengthening national and/or sub-national (at regional or local level) child protection systems
  • Knowledge and experience in addressing inequities and disparities
  • Research and analytical skills, and the ability to use data as evidence
  • Communication, advocacy and negotiation skills: the ability to engage clearly and articulately with stakeholders including, inter alia, government bodies, international organisations, national institutions, civil society and academia
  • Training and presentation skills: the ability to share and impart knowledge, provide technical and policy guidance, build capacities and promulgate good practice for child protection
  • Excellent spoken and written Bulgarian
  • Fluency in English will be considered a strong advantage
  • High level of computer literacy
  • Able to work with and contribute to a diverse and dynamic team while remaining diligent and resourceful when working alone
  • Highly flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing circumstances
  • Understanding of the social, economic and political context
  • Previous experience working with UNICEF, another UN agency or international organisations is an asset
  • All consultants must meet the minimum qualifications, skills and experience requirements in one or more of the thematic areas below:

Strengthening and reform of child-care systems; deinstitutionalization; prevention for separation of children from their parents; development of quality alternative care and services; parenting support.

Key skills, technical background and experience required:

  • Expertise in multidisciplinary approaches to child development, care and protection
  • Excellent knowledge and understanding of child care reform trends and processes
  • Familiarity with the legal and regulatory framework on alternative care provision including the CRC, Guidelines on Alternative Care, etc.
  • Experience in development and implementation of parenting support programmes and/or services
  • Strong social work skills with knowledge and experience of case management, care planning, referrals, monitoring, etc.
  • Strong understanding of child care reform processes, and demonstrated experience in supporting development and implementation of preventative and alternative to institutional care services for children and families

* * *


Strengthening the social work and services; planning, developing and supporting the workforce which includes but is not restricted to:  adopting strategic approaches to planning for the workforce, assessments to identify human resources gaps, improving recruitment, hiring and deployment practices, designing pre-service and in-service education and training programmes, supporting professional growth and development. 

Key skills, technical background and experience required:

  • Experience in developing social work and social service workforce training (including pre-service and in-service training) for academia, NGOs and the departmental training institutes of governments
  • Strong social work skills with knowledge and experience around developing and supporting case management, care planning, referrals, monitoring systems and supervision
  • Experience in development of guidelines, assessment tools and delivery of programmes for planning and improving the capacity-building of the workforce
  • Experience in development, implementation and/or monitoring of social services for children and parents
  • Experience in conducting participatory workshops and facilitation skills
  • Ability to train and/or mentor social work professionals in child protection; and develop training and supervision tools, at the academic, pre-service, in-service training levels

* * *


Communication for Social Change; working with children, families and communities to combat harmful practices and foster positive behavior change to better prevent and respond to abuse, exploitation and violence including child marriage as well as support for development of new services for vulnerable children and parents.

Key skills, technical background and experience required:

  • Excellent understanding of social norms theory and the relationship between social norms, attitudes and child protection issues in the country
  • Understanding of the principles and approaches of Communication for Social Change including engagement and empowerment of children and communities, developing inter-personal communication skills, and communication and community engagement, including in humanitarian action
  • Specific knowledge and experience with Communication for Social Change around gender, including child marriage; disability, including in relation to reducing the institutionalization of children; and addressing violent discipline
  • Broad understanding of social constructs, preferably with cross-cultural perspectives;
  • Strong grasp of the issues facing adolescent girls and boys in the country, with an understanding of the enabling environment, policies and programmes that are responsive to their needs
  • Knowledge of mapping social norms initiatives in the context of child protection and analysis of their applicability to issues of concern

* * *


Adaptation of justice and social systems to children’s rights and needs, development and implementation of child-friendly approaches to justice, tailored responses for children whose rights are violated, advocacy and support for legislative and policy reform and the development of alternatives to child detention.

Key skills, technical background and experience required:

  • Excellent knowledge of international and national legal instruments related to children’s access to justice
  • Excellent knowledge of the Bulgarian legal framework
  • Advanced understanding of the justice practices related to the participation of children in the civil, administrative and penal proceedings
  • Strong grasp of the system for provision of free legal aid
  • Experience in drafting policy and guidance documents, provision of legal analysis on child rights and justice related legislation
  • Ability to advise, communicate knowledge, and develop training materials and practical tools on children’s access to justice
  • Excellent analytical skills and conceptual abilities

* * *


Policy and operational efforts to improve prevention, identification and response to violence against children (VAC) including protection of children on-line, development of parenting programmes, specialised services, safe environments and strengthening mechanisms for reporting and co-ordination.

Key skills, technical background and experience required:

  • Excellent knowledge in international and national policies and legal framework related to violence against children (VAC)
  • Experience in developing, implementing and/or monitoring specialised services for children victims of violence and their parents
  • Experience in developing and supporting evidence-based guidance documents and standards for preventing and responding to violence against children (VAC).
  • Experience in collaborating with multiple and diverse stakeholders including government, international organisations, civil society and academia
  • Experience in drafting policy and guidance documents, provision of legal analysis on child rights and VAC related legislation
  • Ability to advise, communicate knowledge, and develop training materials and practical tools on VAC

* * *


Technical assistance, capacity-building of national and civil society actors and service delivery responses; strengthening child protection systems to be more responsive to children on the move.

Key skills, technical background and experience required:

  • Technical expertise relevant to migration
  • Experience in strengthening national child protection systems to protect refugee and migrant children, including strengthening the role of social work, outreach and case management services
  • Experience with development and implementation of standard operating procedures, minimum standards and training packages related to child protection and migration
  • Good understanding of UNICEF and related international guidelines and standards
  • Familiarity with the Refugee Coordination Model
  • Ability to guide on good practice and the best interest determination, including for children in care arrangements

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

View our competency framework.

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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


How to apply:

Applicants are required to submit an application including a CV and Cover Letter in English or Bulgarian, together with a sample of their own written work in English or Bulgarian (report, proposal, situation analysis, etc.) of not more than 2000 words. Applications submitted without a sample will not be accepted. Candidates should also indicate their proposed daily fee in Bulgarian leva. 

Please apply to the Child Protection Roster by 31 October 2019.

Only applicants who are under consideration will be contacted. Work references will be conducted as part of the selection process for short-listed candidates. Once accepted on the Child Protection Roster, consultants will be eligible for direct recruitment by the Bulgaria Country Office for short-term consultancies over a period of three years. The consultant will be issued a contract which is subject to UNICEF General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants / Individual Contractors. The length of the contract will depend on project needs and funding availability.