Child Protection Hub seeks to conduct a qualitative research across the region

Call for a Local Researcher: REGIONAL RESEARCH ON SUPERVISION of social workers and other care workers working in integrated and multi-disciplinary teams setting in child protection

Project Title: Child Protection Hub (ChildHub) 

Country: Bulgaria 

Project Number: 8309-00/2018 

Name of Organisation: Terre des hommes Hungary, Know-how centre for alternative care for children, NBU (national associate partner)

I. Introduction 

About Terre des hommes 

Terre des hommes (Tdh) is the leading Swiss organization for children’s aid. In 2019, our health, child protection and emergency programmes have supported over four million children and members of their communities around the world through innovative and sustainable solutions. 

In Europe, Tdh helps children who are affected by migration, who come in contact with the law as a victim, witness or offender, and who need general protection including from the risk of abuse, trafficking or exploitation. In 2020, more than 39,600 children and 6,570 parents benefitted from Tdh`s support and over 20,700 child protection professionals were trained in Europe. Our key activities include, among many others: 

1. supporting countries in developing and strengthening comprehensive and well-coordinated child protection systems; 

2. building the capacities of professionals working for children; 

3. mobilising communities and educating families to create safe and nurturing environments for children and youth 

4. empowering and increasing the resilience of children through mental health and psycho-social support and self-led art initiatives. 

About the Know-how centre for alternative care for children, NBU

The Know-how Centre for Alternative Care for Children (KHC) is an interdepartmental research and consultative organization within the structure of the NBU supporting the governmental policy of deinstitutionalization of child care. KHC has implemented projects and incited evidence-based child-welfare practices. It has promoted action research methodology which has provided a scientific frame for knowledge production by members of vulnerable groups that guarantees community initiatives address the real community problems and expand the real strengths. 

KHC as a part of University has an extensive experience of implementing programs aiming at increasing the professional capacity for working with vulnerable populations and offer the students opportunities to develop practical skills for working with children and families in vulnerable situations under professional supervision.

KHC has created and sustained a network of stakeholders in the field of child welfare and realized a number of policy initiatives, including jointly with the EU.

KHC is a national associate partner of Child Protection Hub project and such supports all the national activities and promotes ChildHub as a valuable resource for increasing capacity of social workers and helping professionals.

Introduction to the Child Protection Hub 

The Child Protection Hub (in short ChildHub) is an interactive and innovative network of child protection professionals in Central, East and Southeast Europe. ChildHub promotes the sharing of knowledge and good practices, offers specific professional trainings and skills development opportunities and informs and advocates with policy-makers to influence policies and practices related to child protection. ChildHub ensures a space for constant learning and communication with the opportunity for professionals to become part of a strong regional community of practice. The online platform of ChildHub is available in nine languages and is open to a range of professionals from social and healthcare workers through justice and law enforcement professionals to policy-makers. 

ChildHub conducts activities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary (only project coordination work), Kosovo, Moldova, Romania and Serbia. The project is coordinated by Terre des hommes` Regional Support Hub Budapest (located in Hungary), with dedicated local project associates/coordinators in Terre des hommes country offices in Albania, Kosovo, Moldova and Romania, and in the external partner organizations of Brave Phone in Croatia, the Center for Youth Integration in Serbia, the Know-How Centre for the Alternative Care of Children of the New Bulgaria University, and Save the Children North-West Balkans in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ChildHub`s overall objective (as a long-term vision) is to contribute to the realization of children`s fundamental rights across the region, in particular the right to be protected from abuse and violence. ChildHub`s mid-term objective is to contribute, together with child protection actors, to a functional child protection system and exert influence on the development of policies, structures, and accountability mechanisms for child protection. 

II. Background and context of the research on supervision 

Issues of child protection are very complex, difficult and often overwhelming to deal with for front line professionals in every context. Learning from supervised practice is an essential component of the education and training of frontline workers (members of multidisciplinary teams) in direct work with children and families in risk. Supervision is the “cornerstone” of a good practice for these professionals and is geared toward efficiency, accountability, professional standards and high performance of workers. Professional supervision is key as it enables both supervisor and supervisee to reflect on, scrutinize and evaluate the work carried out, assessing the strengths and challenges of the practitioner by providing coaching and mentoring. 

Research has demonstrated that provision of supervision is associated with job satisfaction, commitment to the organization and overall wellbeing. Also, research shows that in an inter‐professional context, workers relate job satisfaction and professional development to their supervisor’s expert knowledge, regardless whether they share the same professional background (Carpenter et al,2012). The emotionally charged nature of work can place particular demands on school psychologists, school social workers, child protection workers, health workers, police officers and it is important to provide opportunities for reflective supervision oriented to case management, problem solving, emotional support and quality of their work in addressing issues of child abuse, neglect etc. Professional supervision is an important source of advice and expertise and may be required to endorse judgments at certain key points in time for professionals dealing directly with cases on their day to day practice, and identify the factors who promote or hinder the multidisciplinary team work. Through this process, supervisors should also record key decisions within the child’s case records. 

Practice and research show that in the field of social work and education there is a need of different types of supervision: organizational, team support, clinical support for better understanding of the children/family behaviour patterns, emotional support for the practitioners working directly with children and families etc. Supervision is both educative and supportive and facilitates the supervisee to explore their feelings about the work and the family. Effective supervision related to issues of child protection needs to be regular and provide continuity, so that the relationship between supervisor and supervisee develops. 

In Bulgaria the supervision is recognized only in the field of social work, but the effective case management requires multidisciplinary cooperation. Thus, involving educational, medical and police specialist which share different standards sets difficulties both in the case management process and multidisciplinary team coordination. 

III. Objectives of the research 

In spite of all practice established so far, there is a need to further develop and deepen knowledge, skills and practice in the field of supervision. There is a need to explore the different understandings, needs, standards, challenges of supervision faced by social workers and other social care workers involved in the multidisciplinary case management work. Furthermore, it will be for a great benefit to compare these needs, standards and understandings existing in the South-Eastern countries by fostering the mutual exchange and learning in order to provided research based evidence for the ones being in the process of establishing a child- and family-oriented social care system. 

Also, there is a need to establish professional supervision as a prerequisite to quality services within the practice of child protection, for multidisciplinary team members. Such need has come naturally in a from the field where such practice is almost inexistent and when there is an increased focus on child protection issues. 

In this context, the Child Protection Hub seeks to conduct a qualitative research across the region to explore the different understandings, needs and standards, factors hindering or promoting supervision mostly involved in the multidisciplinary case management work. Such research will target members of multidisciplinary teams and other responsible structures for offering and ensuring close professional supervision for child protection workers, school psychologists/social workers and other multidisciplinary teams’ members. 

The research aims to answer primary research questions to achieve the following objectives: 

▪ To provide a snapshot of supervision for social workers and other social care workers in the multidisciplinary team setting in child protection for 8 countries Areas: multidisciplinary work (social assistance, education, health, police) 

▪ To explore the attitudes, behaviours and perceptions of social workers and other workers working in an MDT context regarding supervision 

▪ To identify key factors that hinder and promote supervision practices in the multidisciplinary teams’ contexts 

▪ To provide a comparative analysis in the region 

▪ To identify good practices in supervision 

▪ To provide recommendations for strengthening supervision across the region and specific countries 

In order to conduct this regional research in Bulgaria, ChildHub is looking for a highly professional local researcher, to hold the study in Bulgaria and to be in a constant collaboration with the regional lead researcher and the international research team. 

IV. Scope of Service 

The local researcher will be responsible to: 

  • Participate in a training and coordination meetings with the leading researcher and the international research team 
  • Undertake in-depth literature and desk review 
  • Adapt research tools to local context 
  • Conduct interviews and focus group discussions, as per methodology developed by the lead researcher 
  • Collect and analyse the data 
  • Develop the country study report 
  • Present the results at ChildHub’s next regional conference (date TBC)


The estimated duration of the engagement should not exceed 25 working days.

Expected timeframe (tentative) 

▪ Selection of candidates: early November 2021 

▪ Methodology and desk research: November-December 2021 

▪ Field work: December 2021-January 2022 

▪ Report writing: January- February 2022 

▪ First draft report: within 1 March 2022 

▪ Final report: within 20 March 2022 

The final schedule will be mutually agreed based on Tdh`s expected timeframe (above) and the evaluator’s proposed work plan in the offer. 


  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in child protection/ child rights, supervision, and development of a welfare system for children
  • Substantial research experience
  • Sound knowledge of research methodologies 
  • Proficiency in English both in writing and orally  
  • Ability to work with an international team of researchers 
  • Very good writing skills 

V. To Apply 

Please submit the following information to aelina@mail.bg and radostina@knowhowcentre.org 

  • CV
  • Short motivational letter
  • Technical offer
  • Price offer

The applications will be submitted in English language no later than 23rd December 2021. Please refer to the service you are applying to in the subject section of the application e-mail. 

Please note that only the selected candidates will be contacted. Any application received after the deadline will not be considered.

Translate »