How we work

We are the go-to organisation for specialist knowledge concerning the care and protection of children in Scotland, and work with people at all levels (strategic, operational and practice) in communities, across the country and internationally, to improve how services can be developed and delivered to meet the needs of children, young people and their families. We bring together insight, influence and impact in ways to make positive, transformational change happen here in Scotland and across the world.

The CELCIS Strategy - Impact, Insight and Influence


Our work is rooted in data, research and evidence, and the sharing of knowledge of what works for children and families. In providing expertise and insight we:

  • Take a lead role in gathering, analysing and applying existing and new data, research and evidence from Scotland, across Europe and globally - information that we know is vital in order to make improvements for children and their families and young people as they enter adulthood
  • Seek, champion, include, and listen to the voices and experiences of children, young people and families across our work in ways that keep a focus on the child-centred needs of our goals
  • Create dynamic exchanges of knowledge of international, national and local policy and practice, through multiple platforms and opportunities, so that perspectives, research and expertise can be brought to Scotland and insight from Scotland can be shared across the world
  • Deliver an extensive programme of events and learning opportunities, including tailored training and consultancy, all of which support the development of a skilled, confident and well-equipped workforce able to deliver more effective support.


We know that working to ensure the needs and rights of children, young people and families’ starts by working at a policy level, where legislative and strategic decisions are made, and by laying the groundwork for positive change in organisations and services to happen. It is important that all of us working at strategic, operational and practice levels are able to align in order to make the impact we are all working for. In our influencing work with our partners, including local, national and international policy makers, decision makers, and providers, we:

  • Encourage positive change and challenge the status quo in systems, services, policy and practices, championing what we understand to be in the best interests of children and their needs
  • Take a rights-based approach and consider what children, their families and young people say would help them the most
  • Influence and support the implementation of legislation, policy and guidance that is based on effective, evidence-informed methods of working, with a realistic assessment of what organisations can implement and deliver
  • Build alliances, coalitions and consensus for collective action to create the circumstances from which we can improve the lives of children and their families, and support young people in their transition to adulthood
  • Advocate for the experience of babies, children, young people and families to be heard and their experiences and needs valued in ways that can shape the support and services they receive


We believe that improving the lives of children is only possible when we use systematic, evidence-informed approaches to drive sustainable and positive change in systems, services and practices for children in need of care and protection and their families.

Using our insight and influence, CELCIS applies these approaches to make real impact and drive change.

Working in collaboration, we provide intensive, practical support, working with leaders, managers and practitioners within organisations and services, and across multiple agencies to make positive change happen. Our impact work involves:

  • Building awareness and understanding of what works well for babies, children, their parents or carers, and young people, in the context of their circumstances, relationships and interactions within their communities, and with services
  • Developing strong, collaborative relationships among stakeholders
  • Generating and strengthening the use of data to improve services and guide decisions the affect children’s lives
  • Developing and strengthening the skills and capabilities of the workforce to support and sustain complex change and continuous improvement
  • Nurturing, developing and deepening leadership skills and capabilities at all levels within an organisation, and across partnerships to support change and consistency

CELCIS publications

Building Brighter Futures - CELCIS Strategy 2019-2024

We've published our new strategy, Building Brighter Futures, setting out our direction and purpose over the next five years. Our vision is one where "…


Fostering love through relationships

In this blog post for Foster Carer Fortnight 2024, Seany, a lived experienced Consultant wanted to share some thoughts, from her experience of foster …