TESSA Evaluation

TESSA (Therapeutic, Education and Support Services in Adoption) service evaluation

TESSA (Therapeutic, Education and Support Services in Adoption) is a new adoption support service developed by Adoption UK and operating in England, Scotland and Wales. The core service combines three pillars of support, namely, peer support for adopters, a consultation with a clinical psychologist and a reflective parenting group to improve quality of life and outcomes for adoptive families.

A team at University of Strathclyde, including a researcher from AFKA Scotland, is leading an evaluation of TESSA, due to be completed in 2023. A pilot study, completed in July 2021, used a mixed methods approach to capture survey data on service usage and user satisfaction for 20 adopters engaging with TESSA, and interviews with adoptive parents and ‘parent partners’ providing peer support. The purpose was to obtain some early data on the impact of the new TESSA service and to test out elements of the larger research design. At the pilot stage, high levels of satisfaction were expressed by adopters with all pillars of TESSA. Adopters reported feeling less psychologically isolated, more confident in their parenting abilities, better connected to resources and that children were calmer and family life more settled. The research team are building on the pilot and further exploring aspects of the TESSA model as it continues to develop.

For further information, please contact Jess Cleary.