About Us


About us

The Cornerstone Partnership is a social enterprise founded in 2014 by Clare Brasier and Helen Costa, who, driven by their personal experience as adopters and their desire to help children, realised that by combining their professional skills and personal experience there was scope for innovation and partnership to improve the life chances of children in the care system.

Cornerstone was originally established with support from the DfE’s Innovation Programme to create and demonstrate a new model of service delivery in adoption, and from there expanded into foster carer recruitment and retention.  The original Cornerstone support model was piloted in adoption for 18 months across 11 Local Authorities.  It sought to demonstrate a more effective and impactful approach to adopter recruitment, assessment and support and the results from the pilot were excellent. Placements were accelerated, placement breakdowns were prevented and adopters felt well prepared and confident as well as social worker capacity being freed up.

Cornerstone now work with 14 Local Authorities in London and the South East across both Adoption support and Foster care recruitment, retention and support. Our approach is predicated on bringing the end user perspective into the heart of the service, co-delivering services alongside social workers and injecting a complementary set of skills into organisations.

Based in Maidenhead, we have a team of very talented and dedicated individuals who are committed to improving the lives of children.

Cornerstone is chaired by Anthony Douglas of CAFCASS and our management team is supported by our Executive Advisory Group which includes leading experts in the field including The Maudsley, Julie Selwyn and CoramBAAF.

Have questions about a specific Cornerstone programme? Thinking about fostering or adoption? Whatever your enquiry, we’ll help direct you to the right place.
Email us at enquiries@thecornerstonepartnership.com
Call us on: 01628 636376
Or use our
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Helen Costa

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Helen Costa has 10 + years sales and marketing experience in pharmaceuticals followed by a 15-year career in senior public sector roles across central Government, regional Government and as a Board member for a large NHS hospital trust.
Helen is known for her innovation and drive to deliver results and has led a number of high profile projects from the decommissioning of the UK’s nuclear liabilities to overseeing the Model Health Enquiry and leading Ken Livingstone’s globally renowned climate change programme for London.
After adopting her 2 children, Helen decided to focus her energy on addressing the issues within children’s social care bringing an end user perspective and the drive to see change. Helen developed and launched Cornerstone with co-founder Clare Brasier in 2015 as part of the first wave of Innovation Programme funded projects under DfE.
The success of the Cornerstone adoption support model led to Helen developing a suite of services across adoption and fostering and in a short space of time Helen has led the organisation to become a leading provider of social innovation to children’s services. Cornerstone’s mission is to improve the lives of families touched by the care system and Helen is a personal champion for that mission.

Clare Brasier

Co-founder & Director of Training & Development

Clare is a Co-Founder and Director of Training & Development at Cornerstone, with a successful track record within Management Consultancy spanning 20 years, working globally for several leading multi-national private companies and on high profile large-scale UK Government projects. Clare’s experience is in the full project lifecycle, with a targeted focus throughout her career on training development and delivery.

Gulnar Hasnain

Chief of Staff

Gulnar previously served as Head of Environment and Sustainability Strategy for the Mayor of London’s economic development agency where she worked on some of London’s largest regeneration projects. Gulnar also has over 15 years in the private sector in marketing and strategy roles in both B2B and B2C. She received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and has an MSc in Development Studies from Birkbeck University, London and an MEng in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London.