The purpose of this Expression of Interest is to
- solicit interest from eligible organizations with the capacity to develop a scientifically rigorous, credible and universally adaptable framework to assist countries in understanding the long term social and economic value of investing in preventative and quality alternative care services, facilitating the deinstitutionalisation process across Europe and eventually the rest of the world in accordance with the UN Guidelines on Alternative Care; and
- understand where eligible organizations would propose to pilot the framework and develop one or two country case studies, the results of which are valued by civil society, policy makers and donors. It is anticipated that at least one country will be in Eastern Europe.
Background and main aim of this research project
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence of the detrimental effects of institutional care on children’s physical, mental and social development, many EU countries have child protection systems with an over-dependence on institutional care. Deinstitutionalisation – the process of strengthening families, preventing family breakdown, and putting in place more appropriate forms of alternative care for children, and gatekeeping services, while closing institutions – requires substantial and long-term investment. This complex nature of this process presents a huge challenge to advocates pushing for such system wide child care reforms.
Furthermore, the current climate of austerity has accelerated pressure to monitor public spending and evaluate outcomes related to spending in all sectors. Countries that are resource poor have had to make very difficult choices about where to cut budgets. Early intervention, prevention and community and family-based care are easy targets for cuts because the outcomes for children and the social and economic impact these have on the society are longer-term and are therefore more difficult for policy makers to conceptualise vis-à-vis their current day budgets.
In order to fill this gap, Eurochild has received an OAK grant to coordinate and subcontract a research project that aims to develop an in-depth, scientifically rigorous framework to assist countries in understanding and measuring the long-term social and economic return of investing in system wide child care reform.
The results are expected to support the advocacy efforts of civil society and others who are working towards the transition from institutional to community based care, as Eurochild does, for example, through the Opening Doors campaign (www.openingdoors.eu).
Under the current circumstances of austerity, deinstitutionalisation is sometimes presented as a short-term cost saving measure mostly because it is oversimplified. This over-simplification does not reflect the reality that high quality interventions to prevent separation of children from their families and support if and when they do become separated are not necessarily cheaper than institutions and in fact, are often more expensive, particularly in combination.. Our study therefore aims to develop a framework for governments to assess how long-term social gains, in the form of significantly better outcomes for children, could provide net benefits to society.
Consideration will have to be given to how to develop an economic model that adequately reflects the complexity of social policy, child welfare and protection systems, their links with health, education, (criminal) justice and social welfare systems, and the difficulty of establishing direct cause-and-effect relationships between decision making, allocation of resources, services and children’s outcomes. Furthermore, the study should also consider how allocations of budget in accordance with the clients’ needs and not the sector’s needs (“money follows the child”-principle) and cross-sectoral working can be incorporated into such a framework.
The last and potentially most important challenge is around the availability of consistent and reliable data on the direct and indirect costs of services as well as on the outcomes for children. Nevertheless, this challenge also represents an important outcome of the project relating to greater awareness of our knowledge gaps and data needs. In addressing the methodological challenges of this project, it will be important to clearly define its boundaries and potential limitations.
Objective 1: To develop a universally adaptable framework to measure, calculate and demonstrate the case for investing in children
Activities started in 2014: a literature study was conducted on past social return on investment studies and cost-benefit assessments and used to identify various stakeholders and experts, and a project management committee and coordinator appointed.
An advisory board consisting of people with economic, social policy, child welfare and protection expertise was established and will assess the quality and applicability of the framework. Towards the end of the project, a consultation meeting with civil society and government stakeholders will review the project results and discuss the applicability of the framework to other countries than the ones selected for the initial research (see also objective 2).
Objective 2: To developing case studies in one or two European countries
The research should include one or two rigorous country case studies, in which the framework is applied to a national context. These case studies will assess the long-term social and economic value of investing in children, notably in relation to children at risk of being deprived of family care or those separated from their families. The design of the studies should be such that the results of these case studies are endorsed by civil society, policy and decision makers, professionals and donors. It is anticipated that at least one country will be in Eastern Europe.
Eurochild will accept EOI from individuals, consultancies, research institutes and universities. Collaboration in the form of a consortium is welcome, but not required, for this EOI. However, submitting organizations should preferably have a presence in or link up with an organization working in the proposed country/ies. Proposed pilot locations should have sufficient data available and a supportive political and policy environment that would facilitate rapid pilot start-up.
EOI should not exceed 4 pages in length and should include the following information:
• Name of person(s) submitting, title, and organization(s)
• Contact information (email, address, phone)
• Proposed methodology for developing the framework
• Proposed country/ies for the case study/ies, rationale, description
• Proposed milestones and timeline
• Proposed budget breakdown
• Organizational capacity and past experience (technical, operational, financial/grant management), including:
• Technical expertise in various relevant fields, i.e. multi-disciplinary nature of the team
Please submit your EOI via email to Aagje Ieven (Aagje.Ieven@eurochild.org) with copy to Andrea Witt (Andrea.Witt@eurochild.org) no later than November 6th, 2015, 5:00 pm Central European Time.
The project management committee will review all expressions of interest and make an initial selection based on the criteria for eligibility as listed above. Selected candidates will be invited to enter negotiations with the management committee and submit a full proposal. All candidates will be notified of the outcome of their expression of interest, no later than November 30th 2015.
Повече информация (DOC, 86 KB)
Краен срок: 6 ноември, 2015