Relationship-based Practice in Scotland’s Children’s Services

Understanding relationships, trauma and attachment in the context of Scotland’s children services.


Reliable, nurturing and kind relationships are fundamental to a child’s positive development and wellbeing.

For children who have experienced trauma or neglect, developing and sustaining positive relationships with other young people, adults, and service professionals can provide the support system necessary for a better life.

What kind of relationships matter to children in care and in children’s services? How can we best make these relationships at the heart of service delivery? What can we learn from successful initiatives to make a positive difference?

Join this Holyrood event to learn from leading professionals and practitioners in children’s services across Scotland. Examine good practice from new and successful programmes across a range of sectors, and learn what steps your organisation can take to embed a relationship-based culture and approach.

Key Issues to be Addressed:

  • How can we learn from leading academics and professionals in relationship-based practice, trauma and attachment
  • The opportunities for peer-to-peer learning from successful programmes across a range of sectors
  • Developing an organisational approach to relationship-based practice


09:15     Registration and Refreshments

10:00   Introduction from the Chair

           Norma Corlette, CEO, Staf

​​Norma will co-chair this event with Michelle Rice, Care Experienced Young Person’s Assistant of the Dundee Champions Board. 

Session 1: Understanding relationships and relationship-based practice

What do we know about relationships and children’s development? What challenges do children face when entering into the care system and children’s services? How can we make it safe for children and young people to speak about relationships, trauma and attachment? 

10:10   What do we mean by "relationship-based practice"?

Mary Glasgow, Director of Children and Family Services and External Affairs, Children 1st

10:40  Overcoming adversity through the creation and strengthening of developmental relationships

  • Developmental relationships as the key ingredient for effective interventions
  • The effects of adverse childhood experiences
  • Key messages for policy and practice

Judy Furnivall, ‎Consultancy Lead, CELCIS

11:10    Questions and Discussion

11:30    Networking and Refreshments

Session 2: Nurturing relationships during early years

How can we foster supportive relationships between children, their families, and professional services during early years? How can we better understand trauma during early years and design services to support children with traumatic experiences? What are some examples of good practice in early years development across different sectors, from health to education?

11:50   Nurturing Relationships During the Early Years

  • The significance of relationship-based practice in early years care and education
  • The connection between attachment and play
  • Why Scotland needs a change in educational ethos for under sevens

   Sue Palmer, Chair, Upstart Scotland

12:15   Kitbag: A Well-being Tool for Young People and Families

  • What is the kitbag
  • How it is used

   Joanie Robins, Kitbag Coordinator, International Futures Forum

12:35    Questions and Open Floor Discussion

13:00    Lunch and Networking

Session 3: Organisational approaches to relationship-based practice

What factors feed in to an organisational culture and approach to relationship-based practice? How can we better design services and service delivery, and equip staff with the skills necessary to be confident in their professional work with children?

13:45  Learning to relate - what European social pedagogy can tell us

  • Why we need to support workforce development about relationships
  • Why relationships are vital to good practice and to good outcomes
  • How social pedagogy can contribute

Marion Macleod, Policy Manager, Children in Scotland

14:05   Continuing Care Through Lifelong Connections

  • The innovative approach adopted by Care Visions, Why Not? to support care experienced young people in their transition to adulthood
  • The evidence and policy context
  • The policy, process and practice of relational care in this context
  •  What we have learned in the development of this approach

Danny Henderson, Senior Manager, Operations (Residential), Care Visions & Nicki McLaughlin, Service Manager, Care Visions

14:25   Care or Custody? Reflections on Messages from Young People

  • Key messages and call for action from one year programme of engagement 
  • Young people's accounts 

 Alison Gough, Secure Care National Advisor, CYCJ

14:45    Questions and Discussion

15:15    Closing remarks from Chair

15:30    Close of event

*Agenda is subject to change without notice.

Venue and costs

  • Discounted rate: £149 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: £199 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: £299 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please contact Zoe Russell by email: or by phone: 0131 285 1692

18 January 2017
35 Young Street North Lane
United Kingdom



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