Practice Excellence

CVAA is running a programme of work to support and promote practice excellence in VAAs, supported by Practice Improvement Funding from the Department for Education. This project is aimed at:

  • improving the confidence and skills of senior practitioners in VAAs to use research and evidence in their practice;
  • increasing the capacity of VAAs to collect data on the impact of their services and evaluate their practice;
  • supporting sector collaboration on collective responses to shared challenges, to strengthen a national network of high quality services.

Priorities for outcome improvement

The examples of practice being developed and showcased through this work are framed around three overarching priorities areas where outcomes for children could be improved.

  • Priority 1: Placement of priority children – To improve equality of outcomes for those groups of children who are less well served by the adoption system than others
  • Priority 2: Permanency planning – To improve early decision-making about permanency, whatever the right permanent home for a child, and develop new and effective models of permanency planning where appropriate
  • Priority 3: Adoption support – To improve the effectiveness and availability of excellent, life-long adoption support, to all parties to adoption, including birth families.


As part of this work CVAA is holding a number of practice improvement member events across the country with a focus on applying evidence to practice, and learning from existing good practice and new innovations. Practitioners from CVAA’s membership have shared learning from their own work and implications for how this can contribute towards improving outcomes for children.

Academics who have presented their research findings at events this year included Dr Matt Woolgar on promoting individual children’s needs and Professor Julie Selwyn on adoption support and sibling placements, Professor Jo Ward on the evidence base supporting adoption, and Professor Hugh McLaughlin on evidence-based practice and service evaluation.


Theory of Change

To support practitioners in evaluation and communicating the impact of their services, CVAA have developed a Theory of Change template for the sector to apply to their own practice. We have also applied this model to our own programme of work; you can see CVAA’s theory of change here. 


Members can access resources from events and the Theory of Change template in our members’ area, alongside videos of our academic speakers, practice posters and presentation slides by member agencies who have presented their services , as well as tools and articles intended for both personal CPD use and as practice meeting discussion materials.


For further information about CVAA’s practice excellence programme, please email