The Cornerstone Partnership is a social enterprise based in London with a mission to improve the lives of children and families touched by the care system.
Cornerstone has pioneered the world’s first VR (virtual reality) experience for fostering services as well as immersive therapeutic support using social VR to help children in the care system. VR is a technology that creates a virtual environment. People interact in those environments using, for example, VR goggles or other mobile devices in an immersive 360 degrees experience. Cornerstone VR™ harnesses the power of VR to change behaviour whether the goal is to improve enquiries and conversion rates through to stabilising placements by generating “emotional understanding” and empathy resulting in a positive impact on the relationship dynamic between the adult and the child. With a more resilient adult-child relationship, families can be kept together, and placement breakdowns can be avoided.
Cornerstone VR is now embedded in social work practice across 40+ local authorities who have been testing its application extensively and with very positive results including improved conversion rates, enhanced empathy, fewer breakdowns and better matching. Feedback from professionals who have taken our VR training consistently shows that they believed that by providing a window into trauma and children's emotions, VR can also play a role in attracting the right kind of foster carers.
Jo Hines, Service Manager for Placement and Resources at Southend on Sea, stated that;
In fostering assessments it enables workers to explore in a more meaningful way strategies for managing behaviour. In turn prospective foster carers are able to reflect with greater empathy and realistically demonstrate more insight and shape their matching criteria more appropriately.
While Waltham Forest have said that they have been using it extensively to recruit good quality foster carers and with existing placements, they have successfully used it to prevent placement breakdowns. In all cases of use within our different user groups, the use of our VR technology and training has ensured that their practice is consistently good across children’s services. You can read more about the impact of VR here. Furthermore, Ofsted has endorsed the use and impact of the tool in its recent inspection of Calderdale’s adoption services, highlighting improvements in matching and decision-making.
A review of by Mark Owers, government adviser and co-author of the Government’s 2018 fostering stock take report, has hailed Cornerstone VR as the most impactful and successful intervention in the last 15 years, bringing the voice of the child into the heart of social work. You can read Mark’s full article here.
This is only the beginning, Cornerstone VR also took part in NSPCC’s ‘How Safe’ conference at the end of June, to explore how the VR can be used within Safeguarding. Working with the NSPCC team to showcase our VR content to over 100 professionals. Attendees ranged from social work and school staff to members of the police, armed forces and civil service.
If you would like to find out more about Cornerstone VR, would like a demonstration of our VR experiences, or would like to collaborate, please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org