With social media making it increasingly easy for young people to have unvetted contact with birth relatives and bypassing intermediaries and agreed contact arrangements, we realised the need for an online, yet secure tool that could support safe two-way communications between adopted young people and birth relatives.

Fortunate to secure ‘socially motivated tech’ funding from Nominet, the ARC Adoption team began development of an innovative Communications Management Application (Comms App) to support a more modern approach to traditional letterbox contact.

This flexible Mobile App will be closely integrated with our existing ARCBOX life story platform too, enabling all communications to reside in one place for the child, creating an ongoing life timeline.

Improving ‘letterbox’ for local authorities and other organisations

It’s a regrettable but widely accepted fact that current systems used to facilitate contact are difficult to manage due to increasing demand and lack of resource, and moreover, often do not meet the needs of the children.

ARC’s Comms App will be available to Local Authorities and other related organisations to help them more effectively manage the varying contact scenarios between birth families and the care scenarios of children and young people, as further outlined below:

  • The Communications Plan Manager will enable effective management and coordination of all communications
  • The Secure Messaging Module will provide secure, safe communication between children and significant people in their lives, in strict accordance with the communications plan
  • The Post Box Manager will enable recording and monitoring of communications in compliance with the plan
  • The Mobile App will provide easily accessible, managed communications by authorised contributors

Improving online safety for young people

We are also confident that creating this digital alternative for contact with birth relatives will dramatically improve online safety for young people, as well as provide a personalised environment where significant moments can be captured and stored. This tool will:

  • Enable efficient and audited management of agreed communication plans
  • Provide anonymity to children and young people who are cared for
  • Allow safe, moderated communications between significant, nominated, adults and children
  • Give the child a safe, personalised place to build their own life story, without external judgment
  • Provide a child or young person with a safe outlet to capture and document significant moments in their lives. A positive consequence has been a delay or reduction in the need to access social media as a platform to fulfil this need

Demonstrations and Pilot  

The team have been providing demonstrations of the Comms App to Regional Adoption Agencies and Local Authorities as well as other professionals both privately and at sector-based events, and we will be soon embarking upon an exciting pilot. Interested organisations are very welcome to contact us to find out more and get involved. 

The ARC team see the Comms App making a big impact to professionals and families alike. If you would like to find out more about it for your organisation, please do get in touch with us at [email protected].