Adoptionplus to create digital tool thanks to Barnardo’s Foundation’s first award

Adoptionplus has been awarded a grant of £228,690 for an innovative programme working with families with adopted children – the first award from the Barnardo’s Foundation

Many adopted children in the UK have a history of trauma and loss and supporting their therapeutic needs is vital to their emotional health and wellbeing, and wider future outcomes.  

The Department of Education, via the Adoption Support Fund has invested over £175 million in therapeutic provisions since 2015. However, there is currently no national system for measuring which therapeutic interventions are most effective.  

Adoptionplus, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnardo’s, will create a new digital data collection and analysis tool called STEP (Supporting Tracking & Evaluating Progress) that will measure change over time within the family, taking into consideration the therapeutic interventions they have received. Data from parents will be clinically analysed so local authorities and regional adoption agencies can learn what works, when, for whom, and for how long. Over time, this will enable the development of a more strategic evidence-based approach to adoption support.  

Adoptionplus will look to licence the tool to regional adoption agencies and others, thereby making it widely available to many adoptive families throughout the country. Better evidence will enable adoption agencies and the Department for Education to take a more informed approach to the commissioning and development of adoption support services, which in turn will benefit children. 

Director of Adoptionplus Joanne Alper said: 

“We are absolutely delighted that the Barnardo’s Foundation is supporting this important and ground-breaking new innovation. Adoption support is central to the emotional health and wellbeing of adopted children, and local authorities and regional adoption agencies need information to ensure their limited resources are spent on services that are genuinely effective and have long lasting benefits. Combining an easy-to-use digital tool with comprehensive clinical analysis, local authorities and regional adoption agencies will have the information they need to plan services in order that they are as beneficial for children as possible.” 

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:   

“The STEP digital tool is exactly the kind of innovation that the Barnardo’s Foundation was created to support.  

“The world is changing faster than ever before, and we want to promote hybrid physical and digital services that meet the needs of vulnerable children and young people today and tomorrow. We are investing in this new tool in order to help develop data on what works when it comes to supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our society and giving them the best possible chance to thrive.” 

The Barnardo’s Foundation, launched in April 2020, is an exciting and innovative approach to investing Barnardo’s voluntary funds more strategically to ensure that vulnerable children have improved life chances. 

Adoptionplus is a pioneering therapeutic adoption agency which helps some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK find families. Since September 2018, Adoptionplus has been run in partnership with Barnardo’s. 

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