Saturday, 21 April 2018

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UNHCR vacancy: Unaccompanied children integration

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): Participatory assessment and report on the reception and integration of refugee children in the United Kingdom

Terms of Reference

Overall purpose and Scope of Assignment
In recent years, the number of refugee children living in the United Kingdom (UK) has increased. These children include those who have been transferred to the UK through the Dublin Procedure, under s.67 of the Immigration Act 2016 and via resettlement1 as well as children who arrive in the UK spontaneously to seek asylum. The Government has recognised the particular importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of such children, releasing their Safeguarding Strategy for Unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children in November 20172.
The increase in transfers through the Government’s National Transfer Scheme (NTS) has meant increased responsibility for a wider range of local authorities (LAs) and service providers to provide suitable care arrangements and integration support to refugee children. Following the increase in children under their care, service challenges have arisen3 and LAs have expressed concerns regarding financial support from central government but also regarding LA capacity to meet children’s needs for school places, therapeutic services, English language learning, legal advice and translation services.4
Whilst several reports have looked at the immigration law and policy framework for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) in the UK, this study – based on participatory assessments5 with refugee children, LAs and service providers - will look specifically at reception arrangements and early integration support for refugee children.

Research Aims
The work aims to strengthen understanding of the early integration and reception experiences of refugee children and to support strengthening of integration. The research will focus on the rights of the child as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child6 including where these rights intersect with the rights of refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Key themes for the study will include all or some of the following:
• Care arrangements
• Transfers to and within the UK
• Education
• Reception and accommodation
• Social networks and cultural identity
• Safety and well-being
• Health
• Psychosocial support
• English language learning
• Family separation
• Children’s views and aspirations for the future

A recent Roadmap produced by UNHCR, UNICEF and IRC sets out the importance of inclusion and consultation of UASC and refugee children in work on their individual cases but also a need for their inclusion on a planning and programme implementation level7. The proposed study will include participatory assessments with refugee children, including focus groups and individual interviews.
Semi-structured interviews will be held separately with local authorities and service providers supporting the children interviewed in the focus groups. The participatory assessment will be followed by a report and a workshop with relevant stakeholders (for further detail see activities and outputs).

Children - It is anticipated that up to 100 refugee children (covering the broadest age spectrum possible) would be included as participants for the assessment, to include a mixture of focus groups and individual interviews. Participants would broadly representative of the most common nationalities for refugee children in the UK. In order to consider experiences across different local authorities children selected will be from 5-7 regions and 10-15 LAs.

Service providers interviewed would be those providing direct support to refugee children in each LA. They will likely include caseworkers, social workers, parents, caregivers (including foster carers), education providers, regional strategic migration partnership coordinators and other relevant services.

LA representatives as well as Central government representatives (including Department of Education and Home Office) overseeing support for the refugee children participating would also be interviewed.

Geographic scope - the study will cover England and Scotland as nations known to be hosting larger numbers of unaccompanied refugee children in the UK. To the extent that relevant populations can be identified in Wales and Northern Ireland the study hopes to cover these nations.

Activities and outputs of the consultancy

1. Undertake desk research to map existing studies on the reception and integration situation for refugee children in the UK;
2. Design survey questions to guide a participatory assessment with refugee children, local authorities, social workers, parents, caregivers, education providers and other relevant services, focussed on the reception and integration situation for refugee children in the UK;
3. Identify and propose a suitable sample of refugee children and service providers from the target group with whom to conduct the participatory assessment;
4. Conduct the participatory assessment including focus group discussions and face-to-face interviews with refugee children and service providers to inform a draft report which looks at the integration challenges and successes faced by refugee children and service providers. This component will involve travel across the UK;
5. Produce a final report with key findings and clear recommendations to further develop reception and integration provision for refugee children in the UK.
6. Present findings and participate at a workshop with relevant Government departments, local authorities and other concerned actors to discuss findings and follow up.

The consultancy will start in May 2018 with the aim of completing a final draft report by mid-August 2018. The proposed workshop to be held in October 2018.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required
• An advanced degree in a relevant social science (politics, law, development studies, anthropology, etc.)
• Demonstrable experience in working with children, and/or experience in interviewing/conducting research with children.
• Familiarity with children’s rights and asylum/immigration policy and procedures in the UK.
• At least 5 years’ experience working with the Home Office, Local Authorities and/or other important stakeholders in the UK dealing with the needs of unaccompanied and separated children, including those seeking asylum.

How to apply
Applications (motivation letter and P11 form ( should be forwarded to mailbox [email protected] and should mention ‘Consultancy – Reception and Integration’ in the subject line of the email.
Group applications cannot be accepted for this consultancy.
The deadline for applications has been extended - it is now 20 April 2018. Only candidates short-listed for interviews will be contacted. Interviews are expected to be held in the week beginning 30 April 2018.


[1] Through the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS).

[1] UK Department for Education and UK Home Office, Safeguarding Strategy for Unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children, November 2017,

[1]Including those identified in identified in the Government’s 2018 Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper pg 24. See also The National Transfer Scheme: Written statement from the Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis, 7 December 2017 “There are approximately 4,500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children in local authority care in England and a small number of local authorities continue to look after a disproportionately high number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.”  

[1] Local Government Association briefing: Local authority support for child refugees, 2 November 2017,

[1] A participatory assessment is a process of building partnerships with refugees and service providers through structured and monitored dialogue. It includes holding separate discussions in order to gather accurate information on specific protection and integration concerns, to understand the capacities of those involved and to listen to proposed solutions.

[1] See also the CRC General Comment 6 on treatment of UASC outside of their country of origin,

[1] UNHCR, UNICEF and IRC (2017), The Way Forward to Strengthened Policies and Practices for Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Europe

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