One of the UK’s leading health and social care technology providers has been shortlisted in this year’s National Technology Awards for its partnership with Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT) to support foster placement stability.
Antser was named a finalist in the ‘Best Public Sector Project’ category, having worked with NCT to improve the lives of looked after children using its immersive virtual reality (VR) technology.
NCT used Antser VR to help raise awareness among social care workers and foster carers of the long-term impact an adverse background can have on a child’s behaviour. By putting the viewer directly in the position of a child, the VR aims to increase empathy and modify behaviours of people working with and caring for children.
VR has been proven to be a consistently strong and effective tool for supporting foster carers, specifically where the team feels concerned about the progress or stability of placements.
In one case, NCT managed to change the outcome of a placement facing potential disruption for the child due to the carer requiring a more therapeutic approach to their needs. Using VR, the carer was able to reflect, develop their understanding and change their behaviour resulting in better care of the foster child.
Following the training, 100 percent of respondents agreed the VR experience made them think differently and consider alternative ways to respond and make decisions in their approach to looked after children. In addition, 75% of new users said the VR provided them with a deeper understanding of issues from the child’s perspective.
Reflecting on the power of VR, one social worker said:
“The difference VR has made to the fostering household I worked with was the difference between placement stability and placement breakdown. Carers can really use this tool to reflect upon the impact their responses have for a child and it has really helped to repair and reconstruct the carer/child relationship to a much more therapeutic and positive approach.”
Using Antser VR provided prospective fostering parents with an insight into what a child might be experiencing at home and in foster care. It has now become a key talking point for applicants within NCT’s assessment and fostering panel.
Richard Dooner, CEO of Antser, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted in the National Technology Awards for our work with Northamptonshire Children’s Trust. As always, it will no doubt be a hard fought category but we are proud to be in it alongside the other finalists.
“Our work with NCT proves the benefits of using immersive VR technology to provide better outcomes for children and young people. So many foster care placements can fall apart simply due to a lack of understanding, but by placing people directly in the shoes of the child, it can make a huge difference to people’s relationships.
“The examples we have had from NCT are outstanding and it just goes to show the power of empathy and a slight behaviour change can literally change lives. A huge congratulations to all involved in making this project such a success.”
The winners of the National Technology Awards 2023 will be announced during an awards ceremony on 25th May at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square.
For more information about Antser VR, click here.