Children waiting for adoption are experiencing a prolonged period prior to adoption, due to the mismatch between adopters and children waiting. The aim of the Cornerstone model was to improve early placement stability through better prepared and supported adopters, addressing the inconsistent provision of support and preparation for adopters during and into the placement.
The model has three key components:
- pre- and post-adoption mentoring by experienced adopters who were trained and supported to provide 1:1 support to prospective adopters;
- post-approval support groups with educational workshops and matching opportunities; and
- restorative parenting training and webinar-led programmes that provided access to tools, techniques, advice and relevant resources.
The training and mentoring of adoptive parents is continuing and now includes foster carers.
To date, all local authorities who were in the pilot continue to use the model.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that although fewer, not more parents were recruited during the first year of the programme, the average time children waited across the 4 Adopt Berkshire authorities for a family to be found improved from 170-452 days in the previous year to 106-435 days.