Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS)

Who's involved?

Scottish Government, University of Strathclyde, parents, carers, care professionals, health workers and teachers.

What's involved?

The establishment of CELCIS, which - based here at the University of Strathclyde - is a Scottish Government-funded new initiative to improve the lives and strengthen the welfare of all looked after children in Scotland. CELCIS aims to improve the knowledge, skills and qualifications of the child care workforce across the country.

Why the approach?

With the number of looked after children increasing every year since 2001, it’s never been more important for care professionals to work together and share their knowledge and expertise to improve the life-chances of looked after children.

Why Strathclyde?

We have a long-standing record of conducting research on the education and wellbeing of looked after children. CELCIS, which was launched in 2011, builds on the success of the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC). SIRCC was established in April 2000 to reflect the importance and growing challenges of providing effective residential child care services.

Strathclyde and our partners also have an excellent record of providing undergraduate and postgraduate teaching to, and professional development opportunities for, teachers, social workers and other staff involved in providing services to children in care.

How we helped

Using the collective expertise of our academics and partners, together with long-lasting relationships of trust, CELCIS has established a range of knowledge exchange activities. These include multi-professional training materials, international engagement and a programme of seminars and conferences.

To deliver its programme, CELCIS works closely with Government, relevant agencies and care providers.

Dr Graham Connelly, Educational Outcomes Lead, CELCIS, said:

CELCIS offers a wealth of knowledge and experience to everyone working with looked after children. It is a forum where they can share their expertise to strengthen the increasingly high quality of services for looked after children and young people.

Supporting initiatives

CELCIS is part of the Glasgow Parenting Support Framework Evaluation. This city-wide programme involves partnerships between universal and specialist services for children.

The centre has also run long-term consultancy projects to support staff dealing with distressing feelings generated through their work with very unhappy young people. Evaluation of this service has suggested that such consultancy work has helped staff to become more effective, created a safe reflective space, changed attitudes and helped to develop action plans for improving the provision of care.

Since its inception, CELCIS has helped to develop or support a number of professional networks. These focus on, or are directly relevant to, looked after children, such as the Looked After Children Education Forum and a network on the social networking service, LinkedIn.

A measure of CELCIS success to date is the number of organisations that have sought help in evaluating new or existing services. In some cases, this has been located within CELCIS’ research hub, but often there is a requirement for consultancy to be built into their work.

Angela Constance MSP, former Minister for Youth Employment and current Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women's Employment, said:

The launch of the Centre for Excellence marks another milestone on the road to significant improvements in the care system that ensures the interests of children are at the heart of everything we do.