Use cases for Cornerstone VR

Cornerstone Virtual Reality has been used for a wide variety of interventions in the 30+ local authorities we are embedded in. Here are some of the use cases, which show the breadth and range of how the VR can be used.

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Supporting foster carers

A social worker with over ten years' experience has been using the VR kits in group and one-to-one sessions with foster carers. 

This social worker's team has embedded the VR films in a 6-week foundation course for foster carers to bring to life important parts of the discussion. The foster carers responded positively to the technology and they felt it was extremely useful to help understand PACE strategies, attachment and trauma. One very experienced foster carer, who has attended many training programmes, said that this was the first training where she stopped and thought about how her behaviour and actions directly affect children in her care. In addition, the visual learning element of the CVR was consistently reported as more engaging and useful than more conventional discussions and presentations.

Similarly, in one-to-one sessions providing post-placement support, there was an overwhelmingly positive response as carers gained an improved ability to connect with children in their care due to a better understanding of their experiences.

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Recruitment of foster carers

Cornerstone supported an LA in their recruitment events for foster carers. Over three months, Cornerstone held more than 20 local recruitment events, which, among other activities, featured the VR episode “Window to our World”.

According to data provided by Cornerstone, the availability of the film at local recruitment events increased passer-by engagement and time spent at the LA’s stand. Before using CVR, people spent an average of two-to-three minutes at the stand. However, after CVR was employed, the time spent at the stand increased by 130%, reaching an average of seven minutes.

The number of qualified leads also increased dramatically. In the three months prior to the use of CVR, the number of qualified leads stood at 16. However, in the three months following the introduction of the CVR, the number of qualified leads reached 30. Moreover, during the same time frame, 100% of the qualified leads at enquiry stage have gone through to Stage 1 Assessment after watching the VR episode.

It was reported that the CVR was an important tool in providing insight into what it actually means to be a foster carer. The response at the recruitment events was highly positive. In particular, a participant reported that he would have never thought that fostering is something he could do prior his exposure to the VR experience.


Adopter preparation and assessment

An experienced social worker in a London LA has started using CVR in one to one sessions with prospective adopters with promising results.

The social worker found that the VR scenarios assisted discussions on trauma and age preferences. For example, a couple attending assessment sessions did not know what age group would suit their family. The social worker used CVR to provide an insight into how trauma can affect children of different ages. The session led the couple to decide that early permanence is not necessarily the best option for them and that they are interested in being matched with an older child.

Prospective adopters were reported to have found the CVR useful and impactful as it provided a timeline of how trauma affects children at different ages. The in-utero video was considered to be particularly powerful as adopters often do not realise the impact of pre-birth trauma.

To ensure the effective and impactful embedding of VR in adopter preparation sessions the social worker advised:

·         Users to consider the learning style of prospective adopters to ensure that CVR is an appropriate tool.

·         Users to plan how the content could be used to generate discussion between the couple (e.g. on experiences of trauma as a child, on behaviour management) and with the social worker (e.g. age preferences, potential support requirements). It is not sufficient to just ask what they thought, there needs to be linkages with existing resources.

·         Users to consider how the content may trigger responses in couples who may have experienced trauma or neglect as children and how that may affect their response – feedback from the social worker suggested that the films were so realistic that they often echoed personal experiences.

 Overall the social worker felt that the CVR was a welcome additional tool that helped with communication and engagement with prospective adopters.