Holyrood’s Children & Families Festival

Families Fest WP

Children, young people, and families are the heart of Scotland’s society.

Within national children and families’ policies, we see that experience with the care system, mental health and well-being, and poverty all stand as clear pillars of importance. The past few months have seen a handful of updates from the Scottish Government regarding these topics including the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-26 and ongoing dialogue from the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board.

Over three days in early October, Holyrood’s Children and Families Festival will focus on these core aspects of policy that affect broad sections of Scottish society daily.

Day 1: #KeepThePromise

Now, two years since the Independent Care Review announced The Promise and just six months since the Scottish Government published their #KeepThePromise Implementation Plan, it is an appropriate time to examine strides made so far, and look at the work that still needs to be done. The day will consist of sessions focused on different elements found within The Promise, including whole family support, the journey of children in care, and building a structure of change.

Day 2: Mental Health & Wellbeing

The second day of the Festival will focus on the vital issue of mental health and well-being of children, young people, and families. Sessions will concentrate on the toll of COVID-19 on families, children’s mental health and wellness, and perinatal mental health.

Day 3: Poverty

Our inaugural Children & Families Festival concludes on 6 October with a cost-of-living crisis breakfast briefing from the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison MSP. After her opening keynote address and audience Q&A session, delegates will hear from a panel of experts, who all focus on the exploding cost-of-living crisis occurring across the United Kingdom. The panel will have a chance to respond to the Cabinet Secretary’s address, as well as discuss the effects of increased energy costs and food insecurity felt by families, and what steps should be taken to help Scottish citizens through this hard time.

If you book a spot for Day 1 or Day 2, you’ll automatically receive a complimentary ticket to attend the Breakfast Briefing on Day 3. You are welcome to transfer the complimentary ticket to a colleague of your choice.

If you wish to book Day 3 ONLY (£50 + VAT). Please book here.

*Early bird discount not available on group discount bookings of 4 or more people.

*Prices are ex VAT

In our opening session, panellists will reflect upon what realising holistic whole family support within Scotland entails. Thought leaders will consider what progress has been made toward it, and what still can be improved on in order to fully achieve the support system described in the #KeepThePromise implementation plan.

In this engaging and interactive session with CELCIS, delegates will learn how keeping children and families at the heart of our focus has delivered real evidence-based and solution-focussed examples of small-scale change in Scotland. Through example representatives‘ stories and collaborative break-out discussions, audience members will understand how that focus helps improve outcomes for children, young people, their families and carers and everyone working to support them.

This session will dive into the journey of children in care, touching on topics such as the experience of children born into the system, children’s encounters with the justice system, and smooth transitions out of care. Delegates will hear four short presentations from contributors and then have a chance to ask them questions.

In our final session of the day, we will explore how we can build and sustain a network of organisations comprised of a talented, upskilled workforce through training programmes, skills development, and strong standards and regulations. Thought leaders will give a series of presentations focused on the of idea of a structure of change, with delegates able to ask speakers questions afterwards.

In our opening session, thought leaders will explore the impact of COVID-19 on families, from children to parents, through a series of short presentations before delegates have the chance to ask them questions on the subject.

This session will focus on the critical topic of children’s mental health and wellbeing. A handful of panellists will engage in a discussion around current challenges, resources found within the community, and how greater support for children’s mental health and wellbeing can be achieved.

In the final session of the day, experts within perinatal care and policy will unpack the important topic of mental health of new and expectant mothers. Our diverse group of speakers will give short presentations around this topic, providing different angles and voices on the issue, before allowing time for audience Q&A. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison MSP, will kick off the Festival’s third and final day with an opening keynote address centred on child poverty and the cost crisis. Delegates will hear more about the recently released Programme for Government and have the opportunity to ask the Cabinet Secretary questions during a short audience Q&A. 

Directly after the Cabinet Secretary’s opening address and Q&A, we will invite a handful of thought leaders on stage to take part in an in-depth panel discussion. Panellists will have a chance to respond to the keynote address, before diving into conversation about the effects of increasing energy costs and food insecurity on families. They will reflect on what more should be done to help Scottish citizens. In the latter half of the session, delegates will be able to add their voice to the conversation through providing comments and questions posed to panel members.

From £156
Reduced Rate


With annual income of less than £1m

1 day £195 + VAT

2 day £340 + VAT

Day 3 free for Day 1 and/or 2 attendees

Day 3 only is £50 + VAT

From £196
Early Bird Standard Rate

Public sector/voluntary/charitable

With annual income over £1m

1 day £245 + VAT

2 day £440 + VAT

Day 3 free for Day 1 and/or 2 attendees

Day 3 only is £50 + VAT

From £236
Early Bird Private Sector

Commercial e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP

1 day £295 + VAT

2 day £540 + VAT

Day 3 free for Day 1 and/or 2 attendees

Day 3 only is £50 + VAT

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Group discount for 4 or more people

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