The Cornerstone Partnership (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

Key findings

Overall feedback about Cornerstone’s services

  • Adopters were very satisfied with Cornerstone’s services and considered the programmes to be of very high quality and generally better than other support they had received throughout their adoption journey. Findings gathered from both the adopter survey and interviews reported that Cornerstone’s schemes, mentoring and RPT, impacted positively in a number of ways on adopter’s experiences during their adoption journey. Those who attended RPT, and had a child placed with them, had noticed positive changes in their child’s behaviour; 94% (32) of adopters said that the course would benefit (or already has benefitted) their adopted child
  • Adopters said that Cornerstone’s programmes were relevant to their lives and as a result they felt more prepared, supported and confident to deal with challenges during their adoption journey. Ninety-four per cent of adopters (22) either “stronglyagreed” or “agreed” that RPT equipped them with effective techniques and strategies to parent an adopted child and 87% (33) “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that the course helped them feel more confident to parent a child who has experienced trauma
  • Social workers welcomed Cornerstone’s services and praised the service’s professionalism and responsiveness. Cornerstone’s services complemented the local authority offer and the referral process was usually seamless. Social workers considered the programmes to be valuable to adopters and actively referred adopters from their local authorities to the scheme
  • Quantitative data gathered from six local authorities (Ealing, Tri-borough, Slough and Reading) about 43 adopters found that Cornerstone adopters (i.e. local authority adopters that had received Cornerstone services) were more likely to be matched to children from out of borough. Eighty-six per cent of Cornerstone adopters were matched in another local authority compared with 27% of non-Cornerstone adopters
  • Total revenue generated by the six local authorities who matched Cornerstone adopters externally was £486,000. Slough generated the most income (£270,000) by placing ten Cornerstone adopters with children from another local authorityCornerstone adopters in the six authorities appeared to be more likely to have a child placed with them from black or ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds i.e. ‘harder to place’ children. Sixty per cent (9 out of 15) of Cornerstone adopters had a BME child placed with them compared with 31% (5 out of 16) non-Cornerstone adopters
  • On average non-Cornerstone adopters were placed with a child quicker than Cornerstone adopters (15.5 months vs. 19.9 months). Ealing and Tri-borough Cornerstone adopters however had a child placed with them 2.8 months faster than non-Cornerstone adopters in the authority.