Pioneering children’s services are the first in the UK to implement digital life story

Arc Adoption
Liam Martyn, age 11, is one of the first children in the UK to explore Digital Life Story platform ARCBOX

A top Wearside adoption agency and children’s services in Sunderland are joining forces to become the first in the UK to launch an innovative, child centred, digital life story platform which enables children to access their life story and support online.

Created by BIC based voluntary adoption agency ARC Adoption North East, Sunderland’s children’s services, Together for Children, are spearheading this pioneering practice as they are the first in the UK to implement digital life story platform ARCBOX.

Providing children with the opportunity to contribute to, and own, a personalised, fun to use, lasting digital record of their life, ARCBOX enables significant people within a child’s life to contribute to a child’s life story in real time.

ARCBOX, built by North East based digital tech company Seven360, was created out of ARC Adoption North East’s belief that every child deserves to have easily accessible, high quality, up to date information about their life identity, from their family history to present day.

Together for Children are at the forefront of this innovative practice and are instrumental in ensuring that the city’s most vulnerable children are able to benefit from the latest technology that will provide them with access to much needed support particularly during times of social distancing when children aren’t able to access traditional means of contact.

The first development of its kind in the UK, the partnership will initially see 60 children accessing their digital life story and therapeutic support tools online.

Director at ARC Adoption North East, Terry Fitzpatrick, is delighted to be working alongside fellow Wearside based Together for Children, he said;
“Children are at the heart of everything that we do, and for Together for Children to be the first in the UK to implement ARCBOX is a tremendous achievement and one which will benefit children greatly.

“Current government legislation states that children with a plan of adoption receive life story detailing their life, we are working towards ensuring that all children in the looked after system have access to their life story, meaning that from the moment a child enters the looked after system they are able to access high quality information about their lives that can be updated regularly and that they are able to update themselves as well as accessing resources, support and contact with significant people in their lives.”

Terry added; “It is hoped that through engaging with children and young people in this way, putting them at the centre and giving them something they can relate to will go a long way to help them with their lifelong identity, particularly now more than ever at a time when children need to be able to access support remotely.”

Commenting on their significant achievement of being the first in the UK to introduce digital life story, Kathryn McCabe, Strategic Service Manager Cared for Children at Together for Children, said: “We are delighted to be the first in the UK to commission this digital approach to life story work, which is important to help children and young people recover from early trauma in a supportive and nurturing way. This interactive tool allows key contacts in a child’s life to contribute and it’s a lasting record that sees children at the centre of their own life story.”

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