Staf is embarking on a new project to support the development of relationship-based practice. In this blog we give you a quick outline of the project.

Why is Staf taking on this project?

Our national care experienced young people project the Voices carried out a national research project in 2016 with 70 young people from across Scotland. After interviewing these young people they made the following recommendation in their 2016 report – ‘Listen… Can You Hear Their Voices.’

Relationships Matter
The looked after sector, Scottish Government, and individual local authorities need to work together to encourage a cultural change in attitudes towards relationships. This cultural change should be amongst practitioners, managers and foster carers and should push the boundaries of the relationships they build with young people.’

Thanks to funding from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation we are now acting on this recommendation by developing a tool which is co-designed by young people and practitioners.

Who will be leading on this project?

Our new Learning and Development Project Worker, Papoula Petri Romão, will be taking on this project. Papoula has worked and volunteered across four continents and is currently completing a Masters in Global Mental Health at the University of Glasgow.


“I think my main motivation is my love for people, it energizes me to be around them, and I strive to have a positive impact in their lives. I have been through very difficult times myself and I recognise that the one thing that got me through them were relationships and people I could rely on.” - Papoula

Of course, the outcome of the project will be shaped by Staf members and care experienced young people themselves.

“I will be working very closely with our members, as I want their voices to be represented in this project. I believe that the knowledge and best practice is out there, and I want to help our members to collect the evidence to support that.” - Papoula

What will be the outcome of the project and how will this support Staf members?

We know that there’s already loads of great relationship-based practice out there – this project will help highlight this and ensure that it can be shared across the country. 

“We have heard again and again that relationships matter: they promote resilience, improve well-being and boost positive outcomes. This project is about putting existing good practice around relationships in the spotlight and creating a way that its benefits can be measured and recorded.” - Papoula

We spoke extensively to our membership who told us that whilst they know about the importance of relationships and the transformative changes they can bring about for care experienced young people, they often struggle to find a way in which they can prove their effectiveness.

Our members also told us that they liked the format of ‘How Good is Your Throughcare and Aftercare Practice’ resource that was developed by Staf. This is used in different areas of their work including team development meetings, senior resource meetings and supervision. So this project will also lead to the development of a practical benchmarking tool but the eventual shape it will take may be a bit different to ‘How Good is Your Throughcare and Aftercare Practice’.

How can members get involved?

If you want to find out more or express an interest in getting involved in the project, please contact Papoula at [email protected].