Consultancy Title: National expert in public finance to support the development of an Investment Case for Family Care in Moldova
Duration: December 15, 2022-April 2023
Number of days: 60 days
Application Deadline: December 19th 2022
To apply: Interested candidates are invited to apply by sending their CV and consultancy fee requirements with email to firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning in the subject line the title of the consultancy position “National expert in public finance”.
Changing The Way We CareSM (CTWWC) is an initiative designed to promote safe, nurturing family care for children reintegrating from residential care and children at risk of child-family separation. This includes strengthening families and communities and reforming national systems of care and protection, family reintegration, and development of alternative family-based care. The initiative has been designed around three interlinked strategic objectives, informed by the need to promote cross-sector learning, gathering of evidence and monitoring of systems that promote safe and nurturing family care for children. The initiative focuses on three levels- namely communities, families, and children; national and local governments; and regional and global stakeholders.
- Governments promote family care through the improvement and implementation of policies, workforce investment and national and community systems strengthening;
- Children stay in or return to families through family strengthening interventions that consider the wants and needs of children, the engagement of the local community in reintegration and appropriate family-based care, and the transition or closure of orphanages; and
- Family care is prioritized by a global movement through global, regional, and national advocacy to advance policies, best practices and the redirection of resources by multi-lateral, bi-lateral, corporate, philanthropic, faith-based and secular organizations and individuals.
The initiative’s main goal is to ensure that children thrive in safe, nurturing families. In line with this, CTWWC has been designed around three Strategic Objectives (SO):
- Strategic Objective 1: Governments in demonstration countries advocate for family-based care and the transition/closure orphanages, and lead, organize, manage, and fund related policies and programs in alignment with United Nations-endorsed Guidelines on the Alternative Care for Children
- Strategic Objective 2: In demonstration areas (selected during SO1 activities), children/youth remain in or are reintegrated into safe and nurturing family care.
- Strategic Objective 3: Globally, key stakeholder groups make commitment towards shifting practices policies and redirecting resources towards family-based care and reducing reliance on orphanages
Engagement with demonstration country governments (currently Guatemala, Kenya, and Moldova) is intended to be strategic: supporting coordination mechanisms, strategic planning processes, policy improvements, workforce strengthening, improved case management systems, redirection of public funds and strengthening of government capacity in monitoring, accountability, and learning.
Evidence shows strong families promote human capital, improving health and education. This, in turn, reduces inter-generational poverty and promotes socio-economic development.
The Republic of Moldova has been on a fifteen-year journey of moving from a childcare system that is based in residential care to one that is centered on family care. There have been dramatic reductions in the number of children in residential care from over 14,000 to 800 currently. Concurrently there has been tremendous progress made in terms of new laws, policies, and standards to promote family care, including the establishment of models of alternative family care. A minimum package of care services has been established by law with a focus on supporting families, preventing separation and violence. However, there remain challenges that impede reaching the finish line and ensuring that a family-based care system is not only enshrined in law but resourced appropriately so that it is sustained.
Targets for de-institutionalization and closure of old-type residential institutions reflected in the 2014-2020 National Strategy for the Protection and Promotion of Children’s Rights have to date not been met, in part because of the challenges faced by Local Public Administrations (LPA) to provide adequate support to effectively enable family-based care of children and adults returning from residential institutions. Currently, national funding sources are still allocated to institutions, so the closure of those institutions does not result in the reallocation of funds to develop locally appropriate social services aimed at family strengthening, alternative family care and prevention of family separation. At the same time, local public authorities (LPAs) are responsible for funding alternative family care (foster care). Many LPAs have not done so thus limiting opportunities for children who might need alternative family-based care in that raion.
A growing global evidence base illustrates that residential Institutions are cost-ineffective due to their high infrastructure, maintenance, staffing and recurrent costs, as well as poor outcomes for children. A comprehensive literature review has assessed the available evidence and research on the cost-effectiveness of different interventions for orphans and vulnerable children, covering the social sectors and household economic strengthening programs (Santa-Ana-Tellez, DeMaria, & Galárraga, 2011). While noting limitations in the quality and comparability of the data and research, it found that residential care costs ranged from $242 per child per year in Malawi to $5,897 in South Africa, with foster care more cost effective in comparison ($823 for statutory adoption and foster care in South Africa). The median costs for family home support in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa was only US$76 in 2007.
For countries like the Republic of Moldova that have been pursuing decentralization, devolution, or de-concentration reforms, the basic economics still apply, but the approaches will have to be tailored to country circumstances. In some settings, many social expenditures have been passed to local authorities, while funding for state institutions remains in the hands of the national budget. In these cases, local authorities bear none of the costs of placing a child in an institution. The World Bank and UNICEF have proposed that these countries transition to a money follows the client model, where central funds are transferred to local authorities (along with resources to build gatekeeping and community supports) so that they can determine the most cost-effective solutions for children and families. Technical assistance and training of local authorities is essential in these settings.
As noted above, the primary framework for planning against resource needs will be the country’s public expenditure program. Maestral has prepared a sophisticated costing tool that is fully customizable by country, and which covers the full range (by program and territorial-administrative level) of recurrent and investment costs that would be required.
Brief overview of funding flows in Moldova
Children’s care institutions are primarily public in Moldova and are funded directly under the government budget. The small number of private institutions receive charitable donations from non-governmental, often faith-based organizations.
According to a recent assessment conducted by CTWWC on the legal and funding mechanisms of care in Moldova, two main challenges that hinder the strengthening of locally driven social services for vulnerable children and families were identified. The first is that the funds used to finance social services in residential care institutions are planned exclusively in the state budget. The decisions regarding their redirection are made at the central level while the development of community social services is the responsibility of local public authorities (LPAs) at raion (county level) and community level.
In the context of administrative and financial decentralization, the major burden of financing social services for prevention of separation and family-based alternative care rests with local budgets, in most cases without redirected financial resources from the system of residential care services financed from the state budget. Studies conducted at the national level show that LPAs have limited resources to finance social services, and although private providers have experience and a significant role in the development and delivery of social services, they depend on financial resources from donors, which does not ensure the sustainability of services. The costs involved in providing social services of different types are not regulated sufficiently.
There is also a critical need to raise awareness and clearly articulate the long-term cost savings that investing in a system centered on family versus residential care will bring for the country of Moldova. To date, there has not been a systematic redirection of funds to local social services when institutions close thus hindering reform efforts at the local level.
The aforementioned study included a series of recommendations for how to address the funding challenges of care include the following:
- Review funding of the minimum package of social services and include a state-guaranteed alternative care service.
- Finance the package through resources allocated to residential care institutions and from the state budget.
- Amend Law No. 123/2010 on social services to regulate the specific conditions and types of community social services that can be financed from the state budget.
- Acquire the number and types of social services necessary for CPAs and LPAs to facilitate the
deinstitutionalization of children placed in residential care institutions and to prevent institutionalization. Implement public-private partnership agreements with the involvement of non-governmental organizations and religious institutions in the provision of social services. Amend Law No. 131/2015 on public procurements regarding the guarantee of service contracts. The cancellation of the guarantee of the contract would favor non-commercial organizations accredited to apply for the provision of social services from public money. It is also necessary to approve the typical documentation required for the award of public procurement contracts and public-private partnerships to contract social services by LPAs and CPAs.
- Create regional social services through cooperation between LPAs I and LPAs II, as the case may be, or between LPAs II from different districts/municipalities by concluding public-public partnership agreements, taking into account the reduced financial capacities at mayor’s offices and/or at the district level.
- Review the mechanism for financing inclusive education for children with sensory (hearing, visual) disabilities, emotional disorders, and speaking and communication difficulties. Ensure the financing of a complex package of inclusive education services in general education.
- Use the state budget to finance a child rights protection specialist within the mayor's office to be employed within a territorial structure of social assistance (STAS).
- Establish the number of employees based on the population of children in the area and leave open the possibility of hiring a specialist for several mayor's offices. The employment of the specialist is necessary both for the consolidation of services for the prevention of separation of the child from family and for the deinstitutionalization process by aiding the child during the transition period from the residential care system to the family or alternative care system.
Care reform is at a critical juncture in Moldova and an investment case will be an important tool to convince relevant authorities about the reasoning and cost benefit of investing in family care, especially at the local level. The development of this investment case also aligns with a forthcoming national conference on public financing organized by CTWWC Moldova. The objectives of the conference in the following:
The objectives of this conference are to generate interest and commitment to improve public financing for care reform in Moldova, specifically to:
- Build upon rapid document review during group work sessions to conduct an inventory of services that are required to enable family-based care i.e., the minimum package plus services currently missing from the minimum package;
- Assess the cost of delivering family support services per national standards;
- Consider and outline the responsibilities of central versus decentralized (LPA) levels of government in supporting family-based care for children (which level should support which specific costs, through a discussion with senior Government officials);
- Review and provide recommendations on the provisions of the national social protection package in light of learning regarding how to maximize child- and family-level returns (outcomes) on social protection investments; and
- Highlight and contribute to research questions emanating from the Conference on Public Financing for Care Reform.
Having the investment case ready to present at this conference, tentatively scheduled for Spring 2023 will be important and will contribute to the local evidence base supporting locally driven and adequately funded social services for children that are family centered and aimed at preventing separation.
Scope of the short-term technical assistance
CTWWC Moldova seeks a national consultant who will work in close coordination and under the leadership of an international consultant (lead consultant) to assist the Moldova CTWWC country team to develop an investment case package for care reform. The package will include at least two examples of investment cases from select raions (e.g., high need and medium need), and a presentation of the investment case to the Public Finance conference planned for spring 2023.
The investment case will include, inter alia:
- An overview of global evidence on how family strengthening yields economic and social returns when embedded in social policy
- A summary of EU policies, legislation, and regulations on children’s protection and care and the implications for Moldova’s path to EU accession (especially with respect to potential reforms of the minimum package)
- A brief description of current and projected financing flows and levels relevant to Moldova’s care reform, if possible, including a description of what is not being spent to fulfill LPA mandates and related bottlenecks;
- Drawing on prior research and current published budget numbers, a brief overview of the current and projected costs of nationally-funded institutions;
- Drawing on the two raion cases (each with different socio-economic, population and demographic characteristics), identify the specific services families need in those raions to care for children at risk of residential care, considering a framework of services that would be consistent with the provisions of the European Child Guarantee’s provisions on children’s care;
- Estimate the investment and recurrent costs of those services;
- Compare those costs to the (already estimated and available from CTWWC Moldova) costs of residential care in Moldova;
- If possible, generate an economic rate of return (e.g., IRR) comparing the cash flows from residential care expenditures versus the minimum package of care services (net of cash social protection expenditures --- only the care components should be compared);
- Review the budget cycle, and development of a strategy and plan of activities that align with that cycle; and
- Outline possible domestic and external financing sources for the needed investments.
The following are expected outcomes of successful deliverables and completion of project tasks:
Key actors at national level and raion levels understand the investment case and utilize it to advocate for, develop and implement care reform, especially at the raion levels.
The local consultant will work under the direction of the international consultant. The team of consultants will be supported on developing technical content by Philip Goldman, Governing Board, Changing the Way We Care.
- Rapid desk review: This will include relevant global and national documentation to inform the investment case. This will include but not be limited to:
- Review of Ministry of Finance and Treasury materials on public financing flows to counties and on the allocation of public funds to care.
- Review of the CTWWC Analysis of the Regulatory Framework and Financing Mechanism for the Alternative Care System
- Review of existing investment case tools developed by CTWWC Kenya and by Cornerstone.
- World Bank reports on Moldova
- In consultation with Philip Goldman, review of the evidence-base on the impact of residential care on children to inform the investment case; similarly, assessment of ‘cost of inaction’ studies on violence against children to inform the approach to advocacy.
- Based on the desk review, the advisors will draft a short inception report (up to seven pages) on how to develop the investment case for Moldova. This report will include suggested revisions to existing investment case tools to be contextually appropriate for Moldova. During preparation, the advisors should hold consultations with key stakeholders in each of the selected raions as agreed with CTWWC Moldova. Findings from the consultation will be highlighted in the report. The report will outline a specific, time bound action plan for completion of the deliverables.
- Discussions with national and raion-level officials: The advisors will identify and interview key government officials in the two raions. Key informants will be identified in the inception report but will most likely include government representatives of child protection and finance at both levels. Other experts will also be consulted if identified as critical to the process, including but not limited to representatives of child protection and care NGOs, academics, UNICEF, or other government representatives. Discussions will be conducted in person by the national consultant or virtually by the international consultants. Division of consultations will be included in the inception report together with suggested interview questions.
- Based on the consultations and research, a written national investment case and two raion- level investment cases will be developed and presented at the conference.
It is expected that CTWWC staff will discuss with the advisors on how best to ensure that the completed investment cases are owned and implemented by the relevant national and raion stakeholders after this assignment.
Desk review & Background learning
Background reading and literature review
Brief inception report with key findings, suggested revisions to existing investment case tools, list of key stakeholders with whom to consult and questions to ask (no more than 10 pages).
Brief presentation (1-3 pages) about the investment case that can be shared with the Government and other stakeholders to secure buy-in and participation in the activity. The presentation will include the objectives and methodology of the case investment preparation.
December 15, -January 09, 23
Consultation meetings with the CTWWC MD team to determine what services should be included in a minimum package
Consultations with key initiative stakeholders at the county level to set up agenda and visits (remote). Preparation of a brief and public presentation of the investment case for family care.
Revisions to existing CTWWC Kenya and other tools to reflect the Moldova context
County visit and stakeholder interview
Consultations with national and raion level stakeholders (in person by national consultant and virtual for international consultant)
Review financial processes, flow and allocation for minimum package of care; disaggregated by national vs raion level
Draft one national investment case; two raion investment cases; and one tool and guidance on how to develop raion level investment case
Develop draft template for raion level investment case
Develop draft national investment case
Develop two draft raion investment cases
Final draft investment case
Revisions to final package of documents
Final package of documents
Regular communication with the lead CTWWC Moldova team focal points
Presentation of each raion investment case to raion stakeholders including suggested ways to use investment case for advocacy.
Presentation of investment case at Public Finance Forum
Present the investment case at the Public Finance forum. Develop PPT and short brief to be shared with participants
Investment case presentation, brief and blog/article
Write up a blog or article on the process of developing an investment case, including key learning and tips
- Excellent analytical skills; and
- Ability to synthesize information from a number of sources
- Ability to work independently against tight deadlines.
Required Skills and Experience
Education: Bachelor/Master’s degree in Economics, Public Financial Management (PFM) or related fields.
- Minimum of 7 years of work experience in public financial management and economic development
- Proven working experience on fiscal and economic analysis of national and local budgets
- Research and data collection experience with a focus on budgets and expenditure management
- Ability to hold discussion with government senior officials, private sector and development cooperators.
Language requirements: Fluency of Romanian language; Knowledge of English language preferred.
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