1 Year on for The Cornerstone Partnership

Press Release 

The Cornerstone Partnership celebrates 1 year of supporting adoption and fostering with outstanding success and appointment of Chief Operating Officer

cornerstoneThe Cornerstone Partnership, set up to improve the process of assessing, supporting and training adopters and foster carers, is celebrating its first anniversary with outstanding results.

Since it began in December 2014, the Berkshire-based social enterprise has worked with adoption and fostering services in 11 local authorities – delivering savings of up to £3m to local authorities, mentoring 149 adopters and training 214 people. At least three placements have been accelerated and two placement breakdowns prevented.

The Department of Education has confirmed it will continue to support the organisation – which has grown from two co-founders to 10 members of the team.

In further recognition, Ofsted has awarded an outstanding rating to Westminster City Council – one of local authorities the Cornerstone has been working with – recognising “An ambitious and proactive fostering recruitment programme to recruit 25 new carers…, with external support to fill the recognised gaps in placement choice for young people.”  And through Cornerstone’s work with Adopt Berkshire, Wokingham Borough Council received a Good rating for Adoption Performance in 2015. Ofsted stated how adopters “spoke highly of the training and support they receive”.

Cornerstone has also appointed Alyson Graham as Chief Operating Officer.

Helen Costa, Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that we can continue to build upon the programmes that we have started and have a positive impact on even more adoptive and foster families. And we are really pleased to announce the appointment of Alyson who comes to us with a wealth of social care, fostering and adoption experience.”

Alyson comes to The Cornerstone Partnership as a qualified social worker with over 30 years’ experience in social care, working in a range of fields including fostering and adoption.

Alyson has a history of working in shared services having spent 15 years working for the six Berkshire Local Authorities at the jointly-funded Berkshire Adoption Advisory Service.

From 2013, she led the development of Adopt Berkshire and was also Service Leader for this new shared adoption service.


Background info:

  • If you would like to organise an interview with Helen please contact Rebecca Curley on 01628 535376 or email rebecca@thecornerstonepartnership.com
  • The Cornerstone Partnership is a social enterprise backed by the Department for Education working with local authorities to transform adoption and foster care services. Our main goals are to reduce the time that children have to wait and to give adoptive and foster parents the practical support and tools they need.
  • We are promoting Foster Care Fortnight™ which is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign highlighting the need for more foster carers. 9,070 new foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone to care for a range of children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children. In fact every 20 minutes across the UK a child comes into care in need of a foster family. This means that during Foster Care Fortnight over 1,000 children will require a foster family.

There is a huge shortage of foster care families and the more awareness we can raise the quicker we will be able to place children in need of a stable home.  Looked after children’s life chances are significantly impacted by the speed and quality with which they achieve a permanent stable home. This is put into sharp focus by the truly dreadful statistics that over 65% of people in young offender institutes have been in the care system and the fact that children who wait longer than 12months for a permanent family ultimately do worse in terms of education, health, career opportunities, teenage pregnancy and so on.


  • Feedback from people who have taken our course:

“Cornerstone is a fantastic service one which we have found completely invaluable – we really hope it continues past the trial so that other prospective adopters can benefit from it as we have done.”

“It was invaluable. They know what we are going through. My service was excellent. You couldn’t have done anymore.”

“Having a Cornerstone mentor feels like you have an experience person on your side.”


For more information contact Rebecca Curley, marketing manager rebecca@thecornerstonepartnership.com 01628 636376

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *