Our evaluation services

Our Impact and Evaluation team works in partnership with public sector and third sector organisations to research and evaluate the impact of services that seek to positively impact on children and young people’s lives.

The team, led by Dr Jeff Mesie, has expertise in data analysis, qualitative and quantative research methods and participatory research with children, young people, parents and professionals. Read biographies of Coram's Impact and Evaluation team here.  

young boy with down syndrome painting

Our research has been used by government, third sector organisations and local authorities to:

  • Develop support and guidance for supporting adopters and kinship carers
  • Inform the provision of better access to services for disabled children and their families
  • Effectively safeguard black and minority ethnic children and young people
  • Develop greater community cohesion in troubled areas
  • Understand what parents need most from children’s centres.

Current and recent projects include:

Investigating the Efficacy of Art and Music Therapy with Vulnerable Children and Young People (October 2017)

The Pears Foundation commissioned a systematic literature review, to evaluate the quantitative evidence base on the impact of art therapy and music therapy with vulnerable children and young people. The review discusses vulnerability in relation to five broad subject areas: adoption, attachment and parent-child bonding, mental health, behavioural and social interaction difficulties and special educational needs. Within these five categories, ten specific conditions and diagnoses are covered. A total of 51 studies were identified and explored within the review, which discusses their findings in detail as well as highlighting areas of future focus. Download the review: Investigating the Efficacy of Art and Music Therapy with Vulnerable Children and Young People.   

Adoption Practice and Improvement evaluations

We are the nominated evaluation partners for three Department for Education Adoption Practice and Improvement Fund grants - Think Siblings, the Adoption Support Gateway and Early Permanence. Think Siblings, led by Coram Cambridgeshire Adoption, aims to develop new ways of supporting the placement of children waiting for adoption in sibling groups. As part of the research, our team conducted a national survey of adopters to understand their views about adopting siblings and the processes around this. The report will be published in late 2017.  

The Adoption Support Gateway aims to offer adopters fast and easy access to a range of therapeutic assessments and interventions to ensure they get the right therapeutic support with full clinical assurance. An evaluation report about the Gateway will be produced in 2018. The Early Permanence project addresses the commitment to improve timeliness for placing children for adoption. The evaluation focuses on the delivery of a new national Quality Mark to promote and enable best practice via a self-assessment award.

Innovation in Social Care Assessments for Disabled Children and Young People (July 2017)

As part of the Department for Education’s Social Care Innovation Programme Coram was commissioned by the Council for Disabled Children to evaluate the effectiveness of their programme to co-design new approaches to assess disabled children for statutory and non-statutory support. The programme involved five local authorities who tested new approaches with the aim of creating a more efficient and proportionate system for families. Read the Innovation in Social Care Assessments for Disabled Children report here.

Measuring the number of vulnerable children in England (July 2017)

Coram and Coram International helped to deliver the Office of the Children's Commissioner’s Report on Vulnerability, to enumerate and understand the  experiences of vulnerable children. Coram was one of four partners selected by the OCC to develop a framework for conceptualising the vulnerabilities experienced by children. As part of this stage Coram authored the retrospective review of definitions of vulnerability technical paper used by government.

Breaking the Cycle (final report due: 2017)

An evaluation of After Adoption’s programme, delivered in the Midlands, that supports women who had at least one child adopted. Coram was commissioned to explore the effectiveness of the programme which offers one to one and group sessions focused on building women’s self-esteem and confidence.  

The Cornerstone Partnership (February 2017)

Coram’s evaluation of Cornerstone’s mentoring and Restorative Parenting Training schemes for adopters found that the programmes were viewed as high quality by adopters and social care professionals. Coram explored the effectiveness of the services through interviews with adopters, an online survey, focus groups with professionals and analysis of local authority data. The two schemes have run since the summer 2015 in partnership with seven adoption agencies. Read the Cornerstone Partnership evaluation report here.

Adoption Matching - Practice Guide (November 2016)

This report is a practice guide that draws upon the evidence obtained from a Department for Education-funded study of matching practice in adoption services. It identifies lessons from agencies that were placing children relatively quickly and develops a new approach to matching that incorporates these, in order to deliver training and to produce a practice guide. The paper describes how a regional approach to matching was developed based on these principles. In addition the guide gives the psychological basis for personalised matching based on an individual’s particular characteristics of risks, strengths and needs and discusses the importance of high quality linking and matching in creating a family for life. Read the Adoption Matching - Practice Guide here.

Raising Kinship Children (September 2016)

Raising Kinship Children is a parenting programme, developed jointly between Grandparents Plus and PAC-UK for kinship carers who were raising kinship children who demonstrated challenging behaviour. Our evaluation of the intervention found all kinship carers benefitted from the ten week course in some form: either from gaining new parenting skills, increased confidence and wellbeing or a reduced feeling of isolation. Read the Raising Kinship Children report here.

An Investigation into the Impact of Arts & Cultural Education on Children Looked After (July 2016)

The team were commissioned by A New Direction to conduct an exploratory literature review to investigate the nature and impact of arts and cultural education on looked after children. The report was used to gain a better understanding of incorporating arts based activities into looked after children’s lives, and has been shared with the Department for Education and Arts Council England to support funding for A New Direction. Read the 'Investigation into the Impact of Arts & Cultural Education' report here. 

Life Story Work (July 2015)

This research, conducted jointly between the UK children’s charity Coram and the University of Bristol, aimed to address the absence in the academic literature of adopters’ perspectives on their children’s life storybooks. The research uncovered a huge variance as adoptive parents say child’s Life Story Books is either ‘excellent’ or ‘terrible’. Read the Life Story Work research here or view Community Care's coverage of the Life Story Work study.

To find out more, please contact our Impact and Evaluation team on 020 7520 0365 or at [email protected]  

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