Development of policy paper “Children’s Right to be Heard in the Assessment of the Best Interest of the Child”

Save the Children

Position: Research Consultant – Save The Children – Ukraine Country Office

Duration: 4 months

Expected starting date: ASAP

Location: Ukraine

Background on Save the Children

Save the Children is the leading global independent organisation for children. Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Around the world, we work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes, and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. We ensure children’s unique needs are met and their voices are heard. We deliver lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach.

We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.

Our vision: A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.

Our mission: To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

Our values: Accountability, ambition, collaboration, creativity and integrity.

We are committed to ensuring our resources are used as efficiently as possible, in order to focus them on achieving maximum impact for children.

Background information/context

According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child highlights that assessment of a child’s best interests must include respect for the child’s right to express his or her views freely and due weight given to said views in all matters affecting the child.

Since the escalation of the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, there have been consistent reports of deportations, abductions, forced separations and displacement of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation (RF). The number of unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) from Ukraine in Russia is not known, its estimated in thousands (up to 20 000 children).

Identification of unaccompanied and separated children and returning them to Ukraine is complicated by different factors. Reunification of these children with their families occurs on a small number of cases and with a lot of support from civil society and humanitarian organizations. As of February, 2024, over 500 such children have been returned to Ukraine from the RF and occupied territories and reunited with their families.

Preservation of family unity is crucial for children as well as children’s best interests assessed and considered, children’s right to be heard when taking decisions. Hence, it is important that reunification of children with families is safe for children, based on the best interest assessment, including that children’s views are heard and considered properly.


Save the Children Ukraine is looking to establish a consultancy contract for an Advocacy Expert service provision.

The primary objective of the assignment is to develop a solid document (10-20 page) in English language providing analysis and policy recommendations related to the current state of an unaccompanied or separated child’s right to have her or his best interests assessed, in particular right to be heard. The analysis must be based on the research – exploring context updates, reports and materials from the reliable sources.

The paper must be based on the key relevant international standards and highlight the existing problems on the right to be heard in the best interests’ assessment, the policy proposal in the paper must be enough contextualized and relevant, to provide a strategy for solving these problems effectively and based on the relevant best international practices. The paper must also integrate summary from the consultations with the Bring Kids Back UA Task Force members and Save the Children as well.

Services the Supplier will provide

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Consultations on the structure of the paper and desk review planning;
  • Carry out a search and review of materials, reports and media related to the issue;
  • Review relevant international standards and treaties to be considered on the subject as well as international obligations of countries involved;
  • Carry out a search and review of international experience on the subject of the objective;
  • Carry out analysis of all the relevant data and information available related to reunification of children with their families, including practical issues and challenges to ensure UASC right to have her/his best interests be assessed and right to be heard in the best interests’ assessment, peculiarities of the international humanitarian law, including lessons learnt;
  • Prepare policy recommendations relevant to solutions the relevant problems to state and non-state actors;
  • Carry out risk analysis for the key recommended policy messages;
  • Develop first draft of the policy paper, including above mentioned elements. An outline of the paper’s structure needs to be presented and agreed upon during the inception phase;
  • Develop a final draft of the policy paper that incorporates comments and feedback provided by Save the Children, civil society and Bring Kids Back UA Task force members;
  • Keep a record of all documents reviewed.


  • Inception report with detailed plan of work and outline of policy paper;
  • Developed 1st draft of a policy paper of around 10-20 pages length, excluding appendices, annexes and bibliographies, and written in the English language;
  • Brief presentation with a summary of the main conclusions and concerns found out, lessons learned, and policy recommendations;
  • Developed final draft of the policy paper, including executive summary and incorporating the feedback from Save the Children, civil society and Bring Kids Back UA Task Force members;
  • A list of literatures reviewed.


Interested candidates should have at least the following qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in international human rights law, international humanitarian law, advocacy, human rights or social science, child protection in emergencies, or field related to child rights, reunification and tracing, etc.;
  • 10 years of working experience on human rights, child rights advocacy or humanitarian advocacy (or being on relevant positions) that requires legal analysis, research, developing advocacy materials, policy messaging, guidelines or reviewing gaps in child protection in the context of war, other related activity;
  • Deep knowledge and proven expertise in sphere of best interest of child determination standards of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UNHCR and UNICEF relevant guidelines, Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and other;
  • Proven experience of developing advocacy and policy papers;
  • Effective time management and organizational skills to ensure qualitative outputs under strict deadlines;
  • Excellent command of English (spoken, read and written);
  • Work experience with the NGOs/INGOs is preferred.

Duration of assignment and technical arrangements

The duration of the assignment is expected to be 40 working days over a period of 4 months from the contract signature date.

The expert is accountable for the quality of the work and full delivery of the assignment within the agreed timeframe and at no extra cost to Save the Children, other than the amount specified in the Consultant’s contract.

This consultancy will require work under the technical supervision of the Advocacy Director in Save the Children Ukraine office, and work in close coordination with advocacy colleagues. The work can be carried out remotely. The consultant will be in regular communication with Save the Children staff via email, audio or video conferencing, and incorporate feedback from the Save the Children in the deliverables.

All Save the Children employees and consultants are expected to work in accordance with the organization’s safeguarding policies, code of conduct, and core values: creativity, accountability, integrity, collaboration, and ambition. These attitudes and beliefs guide our actions and relationships.

Sources for the policy paper

The policy paper will primarily draw on the key government and non-government stakeholders, including governments of Russia, Ukraine, the international community, third countries in their diplomacy efforts.

This paper must be developed based on the international humanitarian law, international obligations of the countries involved, best international practices and standards on relevant issues, including related to tracing and reunification, child protection in emergencies, safeguarding and case-management related standards, UN guidelines and others.

The relevant data and information available from UN reports, the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, ICRC, UNICEF, OSCE, HRW and other reliable sources must be explored related to the context and concerning current situation around the reunification of children with their families, including practical issues and challenges to ensure UASC right to have her/his best interests be assessed and right to be heard in the best interests’ assessment, peculiarities of the international humanitarian law.

Publicly available information from governmental officials and national agencies must be also analyzed and considered as one of the sources of information as well as the relevant materials produced by civil society and humanitarian actors, involved in the activities and supporting reunification children and returning them from Russia to Ukraine. Reports from the National Human Rights Institutions (Ombuds offices and representatives) of countries related must be analyzed. Statistics and numbers must be as precise as it is possible in current circumstances, also based on the official statistics and reliable reports from stakeholders.

Paper outline: 10-20 pages text

  1. Executive summary and the key policy ask (2 pages)
  2. Background (0.5 page)
  3. Analytical part highlighting key concerns/barriers and the scope of the problem, that will be agreed on during the inception period (7-12 pages)

The tentative chapters could include:

  1. Legal analysis of child right to be heard in the best interest assessment in complex situations, and during the international conflict in particular;
  2. Review of international experience how best interests of the child is being assessed in conditions, mentioned in the point a); how children’s views are ensured in best interest assessment in such cases; relevant provisions of key international standards applicable;
  3. Key policy recommendations to state and non-states actors;
  4. Conclusions (1 page), including covering the key risks for children affected, as the result of advocacy efforts.

These pre-defined domains may be adjusted during the inception period (report), when the final questions, tools and methods suggested by the Consultant/Team will be reviewed and approved. The research may also elaborate on unintended changes that would surface during the process.

Expected Deliverables

SCI expects the following deliverables to be provided:

Deliverable number

Deliverable title


Format and style


Policy paper “Children’s Right to be Heard in the Assessment of the Best Interest of the Child”

It should provide analysis and policy recommendations related to the current state of an unaccompanied or separated child’s right to have her or his best interests assessed, in particular right to be heard.

Word document


To express interest in work with Save the Children, the consultant should submit their proposal, including:

  • Proposal letter (max. 5 pages) clearly stating the area(s) of expertise and highlighting relevant experience and capacity to undertake services listed in the ToR. The proposal should include a brief introduction and demonstrate an understanding of the scope of work required to successfully deliver the project, while describing the approach, methods and design including tentative work plan and division of responsibility (if team of consultants is applying) suggested by the applicant. The proposal should include the name, address, telephone number, primary contact, and email address. You are welcome to include any other information deemed appropriate;
  • Financial quotation that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price for the work, including cost breakdown if relevant;
  • Up-to-date professional profiles of the consultant (CVs of all individuals included in the consultancy team that will work on the research in case the legal entity is an applicant);
  • Candidate should provide two examples of policy/advocacy papers in social sphere fulfilled in Ukraine and describe at least 1 example of successful advocacy intervention based on the policy recommendations.

How to apply

To apply,

please use the link below:

There you will find the File ITT-UKR-CO-2024-161 which contains detailed instructions on how to apply and the format of application.

Please note, we accept only applications done in accordance with the instructions described in the file ITT-UKR-CO-2024-161.

We look forward to receive your offers/applications.

Terms of Reference (ToR) file available by the link above as well. It shall allow you to get acquainted with the scope of works.

All questions relating to the tender should be sent via email to:

Name Mykhailo Kovalchuk

Email Address [email protected]