CYPB reports that people who are keen to adopt will be able to “buddy up” with existing adopters who will mentor them as part of an initiative being backed with £500,000 of government money.
The scheme, called Cornerstone, will also offer aspiring adopters specialist parenting training to help them in their new role, from how to help their child settle into their new home to talking to them about their birth family and why they were adopted.
It is the 10th scheme to be funded through the Department for Education’s £100m Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.
The brainchild of two adoptive parents, Cornerstone will be run as a social enterprise, initially in Berkshire, before being extended to London and the South East.
It is hoped that, alongside providing help and practical training for first-time adopters, it will also boost the number of adoptions taking place by encouraging and supporting prospective adopters along the approval process.
Children’s minister Edward Timpson stressed the importance of adoptive parents getting the right support at the right time.
“This innovative programme will support adoptive families – from those who have been adopting for years to those at the beginning of the journey – every step of the way,” he said.
Helen Keenan, co-founder and chief executive of Cornerstone, said she will be working with leading experts in the UK and USA to create a programme that gives parents what they really need.
“We believe our package of support can really make a difference to the quality of life of adoptive families while also creating efficiencies for adoption agencies,” she said.
“Our mission is simple, to help more families to adopt children who need loving homes, and we can’t wait to get started.”
The first four projects to receive innovation funding were announced by the DfE in November last year.
Funding for a further four projects was announced at the beginning of last week.
In addition, last Thursday, Timpson announced that the Frontline social work training programme, a five week fast-track scheme for graduates, will be handed £1.8m to develop the first tier of management in children’s social care.
The “Firstline” scheme will initially be trialled with 40 managers from local councils where Frontline is already operating.