Virtual reality (VR) technology helps professionals grasp the traumatic experiences of looked-after children, research has found. Analysis of a pilot involving 30 councils and care organisations, found that training using VR headsets also helped improve the support carers and professionals offer children in care.

For social workers, carers and adopters the training involves virtually experiencing disturbing scenes that children witness before they enter care.There is also content that shows how drug and alcohol abuse can affect a child before it is born. The programme has the potential to improve stability within children’s placements and aid foster care and adopter recruitment, the research of virtual reality technology created by social enterprise Cornerstone found.

Taking part in the pilot were 500 professionals, including social workers who also used the tech-boosted training with carers and adopters. Judges and teachers were among others to take part.

Nine out of 10 (91 per cent) of those who took part believe VR has the power to change the perspective of carers and adopters around the effects of trauma. A similar proportion (84 per cent) said virtual reality has helped them make decisions more quickly and 72 per cent said they will alter the support they offer as a result. Of social workers who took part, 60 per cent said the technology had boosted their understanding of the experiences and feelings of children.

Just under half (44 per cent) of all those taking part believe that using virtual reality training can help prevent placement breakdown and 60 per cent believed it would help attract more adopters and foster carers.

Further information can be found here.

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