A vital lifeline for many adoptive families, helping them to access specialist support services. Richard and Jill’s three adopted children are all diagnosed with ADHD. The youngest has crippling anxiety problems. The middle sibling finds it very difficult to make friends. And the eldest is prone to outbursts of aggression toward his younger siblings. It all makes everyday family life a constant challenge, but Richard and Jill do the best they can.
Their story isn’t an unusual one. Many adopted children struggle to adapt after suffering trauma, loss or neglect before their adoption. That’s why the UK Department for Education (DfE) set up the Adoption Support Fund (ASF). It provides a way for adopted children and their families to get the therapy they need. The aim is to make life easier for adoptive families and to support adopted children to realise their potential – and not be held back by a traumatic past.
In early 2015, after a successful prototype phase with 13 Local Authorities, the DfE decided to expand the fund across England. But, there was a snag. The prototype service relied on manual processes which simply wouldn’t scale to meet the needs of the target 152 Local Authorities.
The need for an IT solution to support the LA application process was made clear and agreed. Initial estimates for the project, however, were 6 months. Furthermore, significantly more staff would be needed to administer applications whilst development work took place.
Mott MacDonald, a global engineering, management and development consultancy, showed the DfE how MATS Low-code could help. In a groundbreaking project, the MATS and Mott MacDonald team used Low-code to configure a prototype in 2 weeks which was further refined over 4 weeks of user testing, workshops and feedback.
The results were nothing short of astonishing. In 6 weeks, the team had delivered a national IT solution to 152 Local authorities. The project was on time, on budget and provided all features requested by the ASF to ensure the process ran smoothly without having to hire additional administration staff.
Richard and Jill’s children are getting the therapy they need—and they’re making great progress. All thanks to the Adoption Support Fund. Family life still has its challenges, but having support from experts who understand their struggles has been a huge help.
They’re just one of the 5,300 families the Adoption Support Fund has helped in its first full year. And thanks to digital processes based on MATS, the Adoption Support Fund are able to get the insight they need to improve and extend the service further into the future.The MATS solution has already been enriched to process Special Guardianship Order applications. It is also enabling the Adoption Support Fund to monitor LA adoption and provide targeted help where it’s needed.