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

The third and final day of Holyrood’s Children and Families Festival will focus on the growing problem of poverty and inequality within Scotland. The first two sessions will concentrate on the exploding cost-of-living crisis occurring across the United Kingdom and how families within Scotland are feeling the effects of increased energy costs and food insecurity. The latter half of the day will address the topic of child poverty. We will use Holyrood Magazine’s fictional “Holyrood Baby,” Kirsty, to unpack the policies currently affecting Scottish children and their families.

Dr Kirsten Jenkins
Dr Kirsten Jenkins
University of Edinburgh
Elliot Jackson
Elliot Jackson
Children's Hearings Scotland
Ben Farrugia
Ben Farrugia
Social Work Scotland
Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
Dr Clea Harmer
Justina Murray
Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs
Kathryn Miller
Fife Gingerbread
Heather Connolly
British Psychological Society
Sahir Permall
Fiona Duncan
The Promise Scotland
Laura Lamb
Scottish Social Services Council
Jo Derrick
Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum
Dr Megan Watson
Public Health Scotland
Shona Robison Headshot
Shona Robison MSP
The Scottish Government

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.

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 our 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. 

In our third and final day’s opening session, a panel of thought leaders will kick off our morning focused on Scotland’s cost of living crisis by unpacking the rampant issue of fuel poverty affecting citizens across the nation.

The second morning session will pivot discussions to the topic of food insecurity, with panellists engaging in conversation about the aggravation of food poverty due to the pandemic and cost of living crisis.  

This session will unpack the various barriers standing in the way of families of breaking free from poverty, including childcare and parental employment, and what is needed to overcome these challenges. Session contributors will give a series of short presentations before taking audience questions.

The final session of the day will focus on the work being done to support children’s potential. Contributors will explore how investing in children’s futures lays the foundations for future generations to move out of poverty. The panel discussion will touch on the attainment challenge, the Young Person’s Guarantee, and the importance of ensuring equitable access to technology.

From £195
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With annual income of less than £1m

1 day £195

2 days £340

3 days £485

Includes on demand access

From £245
Standard Rate

Public sector/voluntary/charitable

With annual income over £1m

1 day £245

2 days £440

3 days £635

Includes on demand access

From £295
Private Sector Rate

Commercial e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP

1 day £295

2 days £540

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    Event Details
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    • Start Date
      4 Oct 2022 10:00 am
    • End Date
      6 Oct 2022 3:00 pm
    • Status
    • Location
    • Address
      COSLA Edinburgh, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH