Subject: Staf September e-News

Your monthly news from Staf, Scotland's national membership organisation for all of those involved in the lives of young people in and leaving care.
Welcome to Staf's September e-news.

This month we’re acting on your responses to our events survey, with our second webinar taking place on 14th October, led by our Project Return group. It will look at why connection matters and consider how pets can help us resolve trauma. We are planning over 30 events for the year ahead so do keep an eye on our website for announcements!

Our Youth Justice Voices project are also undertaking consultations on behalf of the Scottish Government on justice issues affecting young people and they’ve developed a resource for you to get involved too – find out more here.

We are delighted to have worked with partners Aberlour, Children in Scotland, Clackmannanshire Council, Kibble, and Seamab this month to deliver a successful and thought-provoking three-day webinar series, More Than My Trauma, featuring Dr Bruce Perry - as well as a workshop from our very own Project Return! Thank you to all who attended.  

At Staf we have two exciting vacancies: we're looking for an Events Co-ordinator to support us to deliver our programme of online learning events, and a Digital Communications Officer to help us amplify the voice of care leavers. Applicants who are care experienced and meet the essential criteria detailed in the job description will be invited to interview. The deadline for both roles is Monday 12th October at 12pm.

Keep your fingers crossed for us on Friday when we find out if Shannon’s Box has won an SCVO Charity Award. And I’m delighted to say Youth Justice Voices have been shortlisted for a Howard League Community Award too. It’s great to see such recognition for our team and, of course, for the young people involved in our work!

With worrying predictions of rising youth unemployment, read my reflections on how we can build a better economy for care leavers here. In particular, we’re talking to the Scottish Government about ensuring the jobs guarantee for young people really works for care leavers.

Finally, I’d like to welcome some new additions to our community. Rosie Moore, formerly a co-chair on the Independent Care Review joins our board and we welcome two new member organisations – Action for Children and Helm. We look forward to working with you to improve the lives of care leavers!

Until next time,

Staf Projects

Youth Justice Voices
It's been a busy month for young people involved in Staf and CYCJ's  'Youth Justice Voices' project, which has been shortlisted for a Howard League Community Award. The 'Youth Justice Visionaries' have been formed to support young people across Scotland to shape the future of Youth Justice on behalf of The Scottish Government.

The Visionaries have developed online workshops to engage young people and co-produced a Topic Guide that gives workers the tools and information to support and empower their young people to participate in consultations on key Youth Justice issues such as the Scottish Government’s new Youth Justice Vision and Action plan, potential new places of safety, and the extension of the Children’s Hearings System. 

Staf Participation Consultant Kevin Lafferty has written a blog reflecting on this important work. Read more to find out how you can still get involved (before the 30th September!) and have your voice heard.

In addition to the 'Visionaries' work, the project's care and justice-experienced participation group, Youth Just Us, continues to engage with young people and amplify their voices. A member of Youth Just Us currently in prison has written a powerful blog on the importance of teaching young people to be happy, which you can read below. 

Youth Just Us provides opportunities to meet other care and justice experienced young people, take part in a range of fun and creative activities, and influence change across Scotland. The group is open to all young people aged 16-25 with care and justice experience. If you are interested in getting involved, contact

Project Return
This month Staf's national trauma project, Project Return, presented a workshop on maintaining connection during the pandemic at the More Than My Trauma conference, with Jenny Ferguson (Project Return Development Worker) and Pamela Graham (Head of Learning and Development) giving attendees an overview of the creative ways Project Return has engaged with, and supported, young people. 

Thank you to all of the young people, workers, and corporate parents who completed our Pets in Care survey. We'll be discussing the findings from this work at our upcoming Staf Relationships Webinar: Connection Matters on 14th October - we hope to see you there!

'The Catalysts', Project Return's care-experienced steering group, have designed a series of Discovery Workshops which will take place throughout October. Demand for these workshops has been very high, and all four workshops are now at capacity. If you would like to be added to the waiting list then please email

The Seeds for Change indoor plant starter kits are now sold out: however, we are planning a series of Forestry Club sessions over the next few months, so make sure to keep an eye out on the Staf website for updates. And 
'Our Choir' - Scotland's Choir for the Care Community - is currently preparing the video for our first ever digital performance. We look forward to sharing this with you all soon!

Building Relationships
The building relationships advisory group have been meeting regularly and are in the process of 
creating a comprehensive tool that will support organisations to prioritise relationship-based practice. This resource will be a place for information and inspiration for any person and organisation on that journey towards relationship-based practice.

The Advisory Group have published 6 top tips to ensure relationships can remain at the centre of support to young people in care and leaving care during this time. If you would like to find out more about, or get involved with, the Building Relationships project, contact 
Staf Policy and Practice

For care leavers, we need to reach for better
In this blog, 
Staf CEO Jo Derrick sets out our priorities for ensuring Scotland's economic renewal is built with care leavers in mind, including a national 'Family Firm' approach to care leaver employment; extending the Care Experienced Students Bursary; and exploring a care leavers' Universal Basic Income.

Staf calls for ‘Family Firm’ approach to Youth Guarantee
Staf CEO Jo Derrick has welcomed plans for a Youth Guarantee and called on the Scottish Government to create a national ‘Family Firm’ to drive action across the public sector to ensure care leavers can fully benefit.

Working with fierce urgency to deliver change for care leavers
Staf was featured in The Alliance's 'Community in Action' series, with CEO Jo Derrick blogging on how we have adapted during COVID-19 to continue supporting young people and our member organisations.

#WeLove - How Includem has engaged and supported young people during the pandemic
As part of Staf's #WeLove campaign, we are promoting examples of positive practice from our members during the pandemic. In this guest blog, find out how Includem have demonstrated #WeLove throughout the covid-19 pandemic.

Staf Events 
Staf runs a range of events including focus groups, forums, webinars and conferences for you to connect and learn with colleagues and peers.

Staf Relationship Webinar: Connection Matters
Wednesday 14th October, 10.00am - 12.00pm (Zoom)
In the second of Staf's Relationships webinar series, we will be focussing on connection - with contributions from Staf's National trauma project (Project Return), The Care Inspectorate and Staf Board member Jade Kilkenny.

At this webinar, we will explore how Project Return have maintained relationships and connections despite being physically distant from each other, and share the findings of a recent Pets in Care survey conducted by Project Return's care-experienced steering group 'The Catalysts'. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss with project staff and young people the difference this work has made for young people and help shape its future.

We will further hear from Mary Morris of The Care Inspectorate, who will discuss the work they have undertaken on the benefits of care and animals, and Staf Board member Jade Kilkenny who will share her reflections on pets in care and maintaining connections.

Tickets are £25.00 per person for Staf members, £35.00 for non-members, and £15.00 for students.

Participation Practitioners' Forum
Thursday 20th August, 11.00am - 12.30pm (Zoom)
The participation practitioners' forum is a free monthly event for participation workers supporting young people with care and justice experience to connect with, and learn from, each other: sharing successes, reflecting on challenges, and championing examples of best practice in an informal setting.

Brew and a Blether: Supporting Care Leavers to Sustain Education
Thursday 29th October, 10.30am - 12.30pm (Microsoft Teams)

This roundtable event has been created for those in Scotland’s colleges, universities and local authorities supporting care leaver students to sustain education – connecting you with your peers to reflect on the challenges faced and the lessons learned over the past few months.

As well facilitating an opportunity to discuss policy and practice issu
es with your peers, we will also:
  • Be joined by a representative from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Attainment Challenge Policy Unit to discuss how we can ensure the Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund can be used to support those aged up to 26 to sustain education beyond school.
  • Be joined by a representative of SAAS, a Staf member organisation, to contribute to the development of their Corporate Parenting Plan.

Implications of Continuing Care Focus Group
Tuesday 3rd November, 10.00am - 11.30am (Microsoft Teams)
Meeting since 2014, the Implications of Continuing Care focus group offers a safe place to discuss issues and practice arising from Part 11 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. The recent work of this group has discussed commissioning placements, fostering fees and payments and shared good practice from across Scotland.

Staf National Conference - Save the Date!
On the 17th November 2020 Staf will be hosting a national conference. Following the success of previous Staf conferences on trauma and relationships, we are excited to be developing a new opportunity for practitioners, managers and young people to share, learn, and connect.
Care Leavers into Employment Focus Group
Wednesday 2nd December, 10.30am - 12.30pm (Microsoft Teams)
Our Care Leavers into Employment focus group tackles the issues faced by young people in both accessing and sustaining employment. This group brings together workers from across the public and third sector to discuss and dissect current practice issues and is free to attend for Staf members.

Supported Lodgings, Supported Carers Focus Group
Tuesday 15th December, 10.00am - 11.30am (Microsoft Teams)
The Supported Lodgings, Supported Carers focus group provides a supportive forum to share good practice, local and national developments, and discuss issues around Care Inspectorate inspections. This group is aimed at members and corporate parents who provide supported lodgings or supported carer services for care-experienced young people and is free to attend for Staf members.

What #WeLove this month...
💜 CELCIS, The University of Strathclyde, and The University of Edinburgh have launched a Digital Exclusion survey to gather views from care leavers under the age of 26 in Scotland on how they have used digital technology during the Covid-19 lockdown. Read more here.

💜 The Life Changes Trust released a report outlining the learning and insights gathered from their young people with care experience project during the COVID-19 lockdown, how they have adapted and what support is needed in times of crisis. Read the report here.

💜 National Confidential Forum are now able to offer socially distanced, face-to-face hearings at their office in Glasgow following a full risk assessment. Watch as Forum Head Jayne Laidlaw provides an update
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