The rate of children in the UK looked after by local authorities is rising and is coupled with decreasing numbers of children entering long term adoptive families.
Buckinghamshire County Council wanted to explore how it could reverse the national trend and help more people interested in adoption take the next step on their journey. They invited FutureGov to redesign the prospective adopter's experience and help showcase the council's strengths in supporting people to adopt.
To understand the needs and motivations of prospective adopters we ran interviews with people at different stages of the adoption process, from those thinking of adopting, through to long-term adoptive families. We also conducted observations and research at regular information evenings hosted by the council. By examining academic reviews and analysing existing approaches to support we could create a user-centred service to solve the challenges of prospective adopters in Buckinghamshire.
When researching opportunities we found people exploring the idea of adoption encounter lots of information about requirements but minimal information about readiness. The lack of practical guidance and emotional support in the early stages of the journey meant the right people were often ruling themselves out for the wrong reasons.
We saw an opportunity to create a blended offline and online experience to help people better understand their own readiness to adopt, their strengths and to connect them to convenient support options to get them started on their adoption journey.
Together with Buckinghamshire County Council’s Adoption Service, we co-created Adoption Ready, a website which supports people to build their capability whilst checking their eligibility.
By answering a series of simple questions, prospective adopters create a personalised readiness plan with practical things they can do to prepare to adopt, including links to further resources. People can also book onto the council’s information events directly from the website.
Adoption Ready enables people to break down the things they need to understand and do into clear, manageable steps. This helps ensure more people are arriving better prepared to begin their journey.
The design and content was co-created, tested and improved together with adopters and staff through a series of paper and digital prototypes to help ensure that it is accurate, effective and intuitive.