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Rudd Centre undertakes major evaluation of adoption support programme

Credit: Sophie Sheinwald

Virginia and Andrew Rudd describe what motivated their interest in the study of adoption and the support of families and children whose biological families have been disrupted.

An innovative support programme aimed at helping adoptive families in the early days of their new life together is to be evaluated by the Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice at the University of Sussex.

The Centre’s director Professor Gordon Harold  in the School of Psychology, in collaboration with Professor Gillian Hampden-Thompson in the School of Education and Social Work), will be measuring the effectiveness of  AdOpt, which is being implemented in several areas in England by the National Implementation Service (NIS).

With funding of £202k from the Department of Education, they will  undertake an evaluation of the programme that has been specifically designed to support families for the first 16 weeks after the adoption placement.

Professor Harold said: “This is a significant achievement for the Rudd Centre and the University of Sussex as the project is one of a suite of commissioned project evaluations borne out of an interdisciplinary partnership between the School of Psychology and the School of Education and Social Work.

“A major issue for adoptive parents currently is the lack of support they receive once their children have come to live with them.  In evaluating the effectiveness of AdOpt, we will be able to learn more about the difficulties these families face and the strategies that can help.”

AdOpt is specifically aimed at the adoptive parents of children from 3-8 years old. Its objective is to create a supportive group environment, addressing concerns such as the importance of play, helping adopted children learn new behaviours, contact with birth families, and promoting school success. 

The Rudd Centre was set up in 2014 with a generous donation from University of Sussex alumnus Andrew Rudd and his wife Virginia. Their interest stems from their experience as the parents of both adopted and biological children.

The Centre’s aim is to advance insights into the social, psychological, and community-based processes that play a role in the development of children and young people across multiple family settings, with a particular emphasis on the specific challenges faced by adopted children and their families.

A unique initiative in the UK, the Sussex Rudd Centre is fundamentally directed towards advancing scientific knowledge, practice improvements and policy developments around vulnerable children and families. 





By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Tuesday, 30 June 2015