An evaluation of the AdOpt parenting programme

Professor Gordon Harold, Professor Gillian Hampden-Thompson, Dr Maja Rodic and Dr Ruth Sellers

Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice - School of Psychology/School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex

 

          "The AdOpt parenting programme represents a unique intervention

                 targeting the needs of adoptive parents and their children"

                                                                                                               (Harold et al, 2017, p. 8)

 

The AdOpt programme was independently and formally evaluated under the Department for Education Innovation Programme, from September 2015 to March 2016.  The evaluation by professor Gordon Harold and colleagues robustly examined the efficacy of AdOpt, through a pre- and post-programme assessment of parenting and child-based outcomes. Although the evaluation was conducted over a relatively short time period, overall, the quantitative measures suggest the AdOpt programme contributed to:

  • reduced children’s total difficulties and particularly conduct problems
  • improved self-reported parenting, specifically parents’ sense of competency and parental monitoring

 

Interviews and focus groups conducted with adoptive parents during the evaluation, also suggested that the AdOpt programme had positive effects, including parents reporting:

  • improved child outcomes
  • improved parenting practices and parenting satisfaction
  • feeling increasingly supported and more connected to others and less isolated
  • feeling their challenges were more normalised, and better understood by themselves

 

The evaluation identified that parents feeling they were not alone and their experiences being shared by many other adoptive parents undoubtedly encouraged continued participation in AdOpt, enabling greater benefit to be gained from attendance and ultimately reducing adoption-based challenges.

Focus groups were also conducted with AdOpt programme facilitators as part of the research, and also revealed interesting findings, including:

  • high job satisfaction for the facilitators in relation to delivering AdOpt.
  • agreement from facilitators that the skills gained from training were especially useful for adoptive families, and could be used in other areas of the facilitators work

 

The full report can be read here.