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About this research

In Scotland, voluntary care arrangements place a duty on local authorities to care for a child or young person where it is necessary to respond to their care and protection needs, and where their parents either agree, or are not present.

An initial study of voluntary care arrangements in Scotland by CELCIS in 2020 found that there can be a lot of variation in the use, duration, type of placement, and outcomes associated with voluntary care arrangements.
The Nuffield Foundation, an independent charitable trust, is supporting us to undertake more research about these voluntary care arrangements in Scotland, formally known as ‘Section 25 arrangements’ (under Section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995). We hope that the project will help CELCIS and children’s services learn how to make things even better for children and families.

Over the next two and a half years (from April 2022 – October 2024), we're going to be speaking with children and young people, parents, social workers, and legal professionals to understand how voluntary care arrangements are used, understood and experienced and we’re looking for your help. By listening to your views and experiences, this research will help to:

  • Ensure that children and families have a greater understanding of voluntary care arrangements and their rights
  • Ensure more consistent use of voluntary care arrangements across Scotland
  • Inform Scottish national policy
Voluntary care arrangements for children and families in Scotland button
Information for parents
Information for social workers and legal professionals

Who is being invited to take part?

We would like to hear from lots of people who have experience of voluntary care arrangements:

What are you being invited to do?

We will hold workshops and conversations with children, and focus groups and one-to-one interviews with young people, parents, social workers and legal professionals to understand their views, perspectives and experiences of voluntary care arrangements. 

It is up to you whether you want to take part, and you can stop taking part any time you want to.

How to take part

Please note, we have now completed our interviews and focus groups. Thank you to everyone who took part.

About the researchers

Robert Porter

Robert Porter, Research Lead, CELCIS

Hi! My name’s Robert. I’ve worked at CELCIS for 7 years and have been a researcher for nearly 20 years. I’m really interested in finding out more about how children and young people are involved in decisions about their lives and am particularly interested to hear from children and young people about their experiences in relation to voluntary care arrangements. In my spare time, I like to spend time outside, climbing hills, or in the garden. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to chat about anything to do with this study! I look forward to meeting you.

Brandi Lee Lough Dennell

Brandi Lee Lough Dennell, Research Associate, CELCIS

Hi, my name is Brandi Lee! I’m a social anthropologist, which means I’m interested in people and cultures and why people do what they do. In my work, I am guided by promoting children and young people’s rights, and understanding their sense of identity, belonging, and experiences of services. I do this work to create research that can be used to inform the polices and practices that shape how professionals like social workers and educators provide services. When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my wife and child, usually walking in the woods or growing food in our garden. I look forward to meeting you.

Micky Anderson

Mickey Anderson,

Data Analyst, CELCIS

Hello! My name is Micky and I’ve worked at CELCIS since 2016 as a data analyst, which means I use data to try and understand the experience of children and young people that have been in care. We need more and better data about and from people with experience of voluntary care arrangements in Scotland so we can improve things in the future, which is why we are carrying out this study. Hopefully you can help us with this. Outside work, I really enjoy live music, and getting out into the countryside on my bike, in my sea kayak, or simply running in the hills.

Voluntary care arrangements for children and families in Scotland button
Information for parents
Information for social workers and legal professionals