The Independent Care Review challenged us all to be a good parent to young people in and leaving care – and on the 17th March over 170 delegates came together to meet that challenge.

The event was for senior leaders and their teams with responsibility for Corporate Parenting or directly providing care and support to young people with care experience and brought together experts, best practice examples and the voice of young people with care experience.

Throughout the day our speakers underlined the importance of relationships, trauma-informed care and practice, listening to young people and fulfilling children’s rights.

If you attended the Summit you have until Wednesday 31 March to watch it all over again here, using your original log in details. 

Maree Todd MSP Minister for Children and Young People 

Maree Todd took time out of her busy schedule to discuss Scotland's collective responsibility to be a good parent and acknowledged that the outcomes for care experienced young people are often less than their peers. She spoke about the importance of holding a trauma informed lens to everything we do and of the pivotal role of the workforce and how they need to be empowered to be able to respond flexibly.

'People can't care if they are not cared for themselves'

Thomas Carlton, Practice Support Manager, The Promise

Thomas Carlton discussed The Promise and the forthcoming Promise Plan with Staf Head of Learning and Development Pamela Graham. He celebrated the newly appointed Promise Oversight Board of which 50% is made up of people with experience of care and then went on to share The Plan, which will provide more detail on The Promise in action. He also discussed the idea of there being no wrong door for care experienced young people and they should be encouraged to test different doors. 

'No young person ask for a handout, they’re asking for a hand up'

Thomas also shared 'Jack's Story...

Independent Care Review: Jack's Story

Louise Hunter, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland

CEO of Who Cares? Scotland shared her insightful presentation on the impact of COVID on care experienced young people which came out of their new helpline. 

They discovered the pandemic had impacted on every aspect of their lives; financial, health, housing, education, employment and relationships and called for tailored and targeted support to address all of the adverse outcomes. 

'We can't be in a silo. The Promise is a monumental task but we all want it to be delivered. We're all trying to achieve The Promise'


Mhairi Reid, Evidence and Influencing Coordinator from Life Changes Trust 

In Mhairi Reid's presentation she shared the great work undertaken by their advisory group which consisted of young people with experience of care. She went on to discuss the five touchstones as we move on from The Promise 

1.Invest in positive relationships 

2.Transfer real power to young people 

3.Genuine coproduction means being comfortable with uncertainty

4.Pursue and value improved health and wellbeing

5.Be ambitious, take risks.

We also heard from Sarah Stow on the great work being undertaken by the Falkirk Champions Board and Dawna Mutter shared her experience of the Fife House Project

Kenny McGhee, Throughcare and Aftercare Consultant at CELCIS

 Kenny McGhee's presentation reflected on his research around digital exclusion experienced by care leavers and he also went on to discuss the importance of relationships. 

1) Bridging the digital divide for care experienced young people in Scotland: If not now, when? 

2) The digital divide| The impact on the rights of care leavers in Scotland 

'With digital poverty, read poverty' 

'Any tool or medium that enables and supports the development and maintenance of positive social relationships and connections for care experienced young people must be regarded a fundamental necessity' 

Tam Baillie,
 Chair of A Way Home Coalition 

Tam shared his occupational journey and his experience of care experienced young people and homelessness. He stated that despite progressive policies too many care leavers end up in homeless accommodation.

He discussed the Pathways Programme he worked on with A Way Home Scotland to prevent care leavers becoming homeless and then went on to discuss Housing First pilot where young people are supported to sustain tenancies.

'We are on the cusp of doing great things. We are much better at listening to young people. Long may that continue. UNCRC Scotland Bill is a great step forward, it will make things stick.'

Papoula Petri Romão from Staf’s ‘The REAL Toolkit’ Advisory Group

We were very excited as Papoula, Staf's Learning and Development Project Worker, launched The Real Toolkit, a fantastic resource for young care leavers and the workforce.

The resource aims to
1) provide the workforce with the tools to give the best support for young people
2) give advice to young people how to navigate the
transition out of care

Through 💜 Relationships 💜 Empathy and 💜Love

Adam Bennett, CEO Project Change

'We don't use system labels, we give people a level playing field. We are the care community, we are people who care about care.'We were delighted to hear Adam's presentation about Project Change; it's inception, what it aims to achieve and what's coming next, including their toolkit 

'The Promise is the road to the future. Project change is to help you get in the car'

inda MacLennan, Resource Manager Looked After Children & Child Protection at Highland Council 

Linda's presentation focused on the brilliant work undertaken by her and her colleagues with The Highland Champs during lockdown. She shared numerous excellent participation initiatives which ensured that the relationships with young people with care experience were maintained throughout the changing and challenging lockdown landscape.

'Relationship based practice is amazing as it can bring two people together to help each other. We always try and leave a door open' 

Laura Beveridge and Beth-Anne Logan CHS Board Member, Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) 

In Laura and Beth-Anne's presentation we heard about Children's Hearing Scotland's Children's Rights and Inclusion Strategy which they co-produced with young people with lived experience of the hearings system along with many organisations. They ensured it tied in with key elements of The Promise and went on to discuss the pillars of inclusion underpin the strategy. 

'The importance of supporting people when sharing's the least we can do, especially now during a pandemic.'

Jo Derrick, Staf CEO, Closing Comments

Jo summed up the day by thanking our sponsors Kibble and SAAS, the EICC, speakers, delegates and Staf team.

She reflected on the fact that the importance of relationships and relationship based practice was the key theme throughout the day. 

The other key themes being 'collaboration, co-design, challenge - this is not the end of the conversation, it's just the end of today's Summit'. 

Twitter take-aways 

'An excellent day spent with colleagues at the
#StafSummit. Very inspired by the presenters and for those who missed the event. It was one of the best I've been to in a long long time...'

'Many thanks #StafSummit for a well put together summit. Very inspired by the content and ready to continue to support change and implement the Promise'

We look forward to welcoming you all to our next event. Go to www/ to find out what's in store!