Research Consultancy: Review of the Adoption Process for Children in State Care

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Consultancy

Review of the Adoption Process for Children in State Care

Jamaicans for Justice is seeking to contract an experienced Consultant to conduct research on the adoption process in Jamaica. The Consultant will work closely with the JFJ team and  relevant child care and protection agencies to review policies and procedures related to the adoption process in Jamaica, the time taken to complete placements in the domestic adoption process, and the related outcomes for adopted children.

Timeline: 3 months

Background

Adoptions applications in Jamaica are approved by the Adoption Board – which is administratively coordinated by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), formed out of a merger of the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of Children’s Registry (OCR). Adoptions of children already in the care of the state are done through the CPFSA which has a mandate to manage and process all adoption applications and the key agency tasked with advising the government on policy and legal issues relating to children.

Scope of Work

  1. Conduct a document review of case files of completed adoptions of wards of the state and other documentation in order to:
  • Articulate the existing framework, whether explicit or implied, that governs the adoption of wards of the state, and say what informs that policy framework.
  • Establish the step-by-step process, including all logistical and legal steps, involved in the adoption process from a child enters state care to when he/she is placed with an approved adopter. This must explain who is actioning each step and any relevant timelines.
  • Explain the process by which a ward of the state is made eligible for adoption and examine how that process is decided.
  1. Using direct research methods:
  • Survey families of children adopted from state care to understand their experiences as adoptive families, including their experiences with the adoption process
  1. Participate in meetings with the research team as required

Note: The research will not seek to explore the benefits or impacts of adoption practice generally, the general suitability of adoption as a permanent care option for relinquished children, or the various issues and processes relating to inter-country adoption.

Ethical Considerations:

The researcher will remain impartial and be mindful of the principles of child rights during the research process. The research methods and analysis must give due consideration to disparities that may occur as a result of gender, location, socio-economic status or other social factors.

At all stages, the research process must adhere to ethical and human rights principles and must be especially mindful of these principles where human subjects are involved. This includes the confidentiality of the data and privacy of the respondent and informed consent of all participants. For adults, verbal consent is required. Where children are engaged, written consent from a parent/guardian is required and the Consultant must weigh the potential harm and possible benefits of their engagement. All participants will be informed of their right to discontinue their participation at any point.

Deliverables:

  1. A report outlining:
  • The research outcomes, highlighting the policy framework governing the adoption process in Jamaica and determining whether the current standard procedure satisfies the best interest of the child principle;
  • The clear outline of the procedural timelines of the adoption process;
  • A series of recommendations to improve the process of placing wards of the state with approved families which can be enacted within the existing legal, administrative and bureaucratic framework, noting where changes must occur for the process to be more efficient;
  • These recommendations should have a clear list of suggestions indicating what the government should do to improve the adoption process and noting how the government monitors and evaluates the existing programmes;
  • An assessment of what is working within the current adoption process and what needs to be improved in the best interest of the children who are wards of the state;
  • An estimation of the cost of unnecessary delays in placing a ward of the state;

2.  A presentation before selected key stakeholders on the research methodology and outcomes

Desired Qualifications/Experience:

The Consultant must have experience in  anticipated data sources include primary data in the form of case files, existing secondary data such as datasets, key informants and other participants, and formal policy documents. Consequently, the researcher must be experienced in conducting document reviews for quantitative and qualitative purposes; key informant interviews and focus groups; and general policy analysis. The research consultant must also possess:

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in the Social Sciences, Law, Public Administration, Public Policy or any related fields
  • Proven track record of research (an available sample of previous work is desirable)
  • Ability to communicate with a broad range of stakeholders
  • General understanding of child rights principles and a commitment to human rights for all children and all adults, without exception
  • Excellent written. And verbal communication skills

Application Procedure:

Individuals, groups of individuals, and organizations can apply by submitting a concept note, inclusive of estimated costs, and CV(s) outlining relevant experience to Monique Long, Policy and Advocacy Manager at monique.long@jamaicansforjustice.org by October 10, 2018.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

For further information, contact JFJ at +1(876)755-4524 or 1(876)755-4533.