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A Global First: Foster Carer and Adoption Recruitment and Training in VR

A Global First: Foster Carer and Adoption Recruitment and Training in VR

The Cornerstone Partnership premieres a global first VR experience to raise awareness of the realities of adoption and foster care in the UK. Hosted at City Hall in London’s Living Room on Tuesday 24th October, leading figures from the world of children’s social care, film and technology will come together to experience how virtual reality and immersive technology can be used to tackle the increasing pressure on care services across London.

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The event is being hosted by London Ventures, an innovation programme set up by EY and London Councils that focuses on how the public, private and third sectors can work together to support some of London’s biggest local public services challenges.

Cornerstone will be creating a full immersive VR experience which allows attendees to see and feel the realities of being a child in care followed by a panel discussion. Speakers include Oculus Rift Lead Counsel, Debbie Rosenbaum; BFI Chief Executive, Amanda Nevill; Raindance Film Festival Director VR, Maria Rakusanova;  Inition CEO, Adrian Leu; Visyon CEO, Pere Perez;  CAFCASS CEO, Anthony Douglas; South London and Maudsley NHS Trust Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Dr Matt Woolgar; Royal Borough Windsor & Maidenhead Managing Director, Alison Alexander and Cornerstone CEO, Helen Costa.

London is currently experiencing a shortage of 800 – 1000 foster placements, which has significant financial and social implications such as rough sleeping, which accounts for 25% of care leavers and 65% of youth offenders who have been in care.

The five-minute 360 film aims to recruit more foster carers using the interactive immersion to enable carers and professionals to understand how trauma and abuse impacts children’s development and behaviour. The film was directed by award-winning British film director Ben Perry and was produced by Visyon, one of Europe’s leading innovation companies specialising in immersive content creation. Visyon’s collaboration on this project was part of their social innovation programme which helps bring positive change to society using emerging technologies.

Helen Costa CEO Cornerstone said: “Growing up in care can have huge societal and psychological impact with many children struggling in later life. Using technology in this way can transform behavioral change and create a greater understanding and empathy for children who have been through the care system. Our aim is to encourage more people to foster or adopt so that loving, stable homes can be found for vulnerable children.”

Pere Pérez CEO of Visyon said: “Our main goal with this experience was to create a very high level of empathy with viewers, to do this we used traditional cinematic filming techniques while pushing the boundaries of the current immersive technologies available in the market.”

Users will also be able to experience the first of its kind immersive VR therapeutic training for adopters, which Cornerstone has developed in collaboration with Inition.

Inition’s CEO, Adrian Leu, said: “Inition actively seeks partnerships with third sector organisations because it creates powerful and exciting opportunities to accelerate behavioral change through creative strategy and immersive technologies. Because VR fully immerses its users, it is the perfect platform to help adopters empathise with traumatised children whilst gaining a visceral understanding of how their parenting can help.”

Oculus Rift Lead Counsel, Debbie Rosenbaum, said: “We are very excited about the potential power of VR to transform the way we tackle social policy challenges. Cornerstone’s use of VR to address London’s shortage of foster carers and to support adopters by transporting them to a child’s perspective demonstrates how immersive tech can be a force for good.”