Results from the BAAF Video Research Project

Research carried out by BAAF as part of its Video Research Project highlights the success of film clips in helping to find families for children.

The launch of the Be My Parent online service in 2007 opened up family-finding opportunities for children needing adoptive and permanent foster families by using internet technology. In particular, it offered the option to feature children with additional written information, more photographs and film clips, helping to present a more rounded and realistic image of the child’s personality and needs - way beyond the limitations of the print media.

cover of Seeing the Difference reportIn order to assess the impact of film clips on family-finding, BAAF secured funding to make professionally produced videos for children waiting for permanent placements. BAAF then asked social workers, children and families to report on their experiences of taking part in the Video Research Project. Data was also collected from the Be My Parent website about the impact of clips on those making enquiries.


Between March 2008 and September 2009, BAAF conducted a study of 66 single children and sibling groups children featured with 50 professionally made video clips to assess the impact of video clips on finding families for children. The children were featured on the Be My Parent website for a minimum period three months.

Key findings

  • Over 50 per cent of children featured were successfully matched with families. Even when the original enquiry did not come via the Be My Parent website the film clip was often instrumental in attracting and preparing families before the match was made.
  • Most children enjoyed the film-making. There is evidence that this can help them feel more involved in the family-finding process if handled appropriately.
  • The film clips were seen as a valuable tool by social workers in attracting enquiries, and by families in offering a realistic and balanced view of the child featured in terms of their personality and needs.
  • 96 per cent of social workers said they would use film clips in the future to profile children.
  • 83 per cent of prospective families found the clips “very useful”.
  • Some families commented on how the video clips helped to change their general thinking, encouraging them to more widely consider caring for children typical of those who wait the longest for a permanent family, such as older children, disabled children or sibling groups.

What the social workers have told us

"I am certain that Helena’s (not her real name) video clip led to her adoptive placement. The adopter was very sought after and was inundated with children’s details. The video allowed her to pick up so much of Helena’s character in a quick and easy non-pressurised way."
Social worker for two-year-old girl

"I was delighted with the DVD and have used it to help potential carers to experience Harley (not his real name) without meeting him.... the film-makers worked brilliantly with Harley. Captured his view of the world and what it is like to be with Harley: the sound of his voice, how he moves around and what he plays with."
Social worker for six-year-old boy with cerebral palsy

What the children have said about their video clips

We asked children aged over five to tell us about their experiences of having a video clip made.

How did it feel to be filmed?

"Happy - because I was excited about being adopted. I pictured someone just like you - a mum with a pretty face and a very tall dad who is fun and plays tricks."
Six-year-old girl (filling in questionnaire with her adoptive mum)

What do you like about your film clip?

"That I’m in it! I liked seeing me playing with my bus and Nintendo and talking to the [camera] lady. I also liked filming with the camera."
Six-year-old boy

What the families have told us

"I read about her and loved the sound of her personality; seeing a video really made her come alive. The video link really clinched it for me."
Adoptive parent

"I would not have considered an older child or a sibling group, but this film has changed my mind."
Enquiring prospective family, Be My Parent online

"Seeing these video clips was what confirmed for us we were looking at the right children. The concerns and thought we had after reading profiles were dispelled and confirmed, giving us a better and more realistic opinion of how we would cope with the children. We have made many enquiries, through our social worker, based on solely the written profile but for these [children] being able to see them in action really made the difference. Similarly we were shown a video of some [other] children [we were considering] and that video confirmed to us the children in that instance would not be best suited to us (albeit that’s a very difficult thing to go through with their social worker sitting with you). The opportunity to view your videos at your own leisure and with no-one sitting looking over your shoulder is wonderful! I can honestly say that, if we hadn’t seen the video, my partner would have had a huge job on her hands persuading me to consider them based solely on the written evidence."
Adoptive parent

A full copy of the report: Seeing the difference? Using video clips to help find families for children (BAAF 2010) has been circulated to all UK BAAF member adoption and fostering agencies. To purchase additional copies call Be My Parent on 020 7421 2666 (credit or debit card payments only).

Last updated: 17 July 14

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