Skip to content.

Learning from adapting the Baby Steps programme in response to COVID-19

Publication date December 2020

The UK lockdown in March 2020 and other coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions prevented many families from accessing the support they needed. During this period, our implementation managers supported external organisations that were already delivering our scaled up Baby Steps programme to adapt it for virtual delivery.

Our Development and Impact team carried out an insights project to capture the learning from the process of adapting Baby Steps, to help inform our ongoing service development.

Authors: Aisling McElearney, Lauren Palmer, Hannah Walters, Georgia Hyde-Dryden, Julia Mayes, Victoria Joel, Michelle Maybury and Georgina Maisey.

Published: 2020

Learning from adapting the Baby Steps programme in response to COVID-19
Download the briefing (PDF)

Key insight

Blended and digital models of delivery provide significant opportunities for services to reach families in new locations and communities that are underserved.

Delivering services either fully online or using a blended model of online and face-to-face delivery, requires:

  • creative design of programmes and activities
  • training to build staff skills
  • investment in technology to provide appropriate local solutions for staff and families.

Other insights

Growing our community of practice

Our Scale-up Unit played an important leadership role in adapting Baby Steps in response to COVID-19.

Staff helped grow an effective community of practice among the sites delivering Baby Steps. They provided expert practice support and championed the development and use of innovative technological solutions in practice.

Ongoing learning to inform service development

Analysing data routinely collected through service development and delivery can contribute important understanding and insight to help shape the development and implementation of services.

Ongoing learning and improvement can be supported by investing in online data collection tools, refining data collection and governance processes, and analysing routine data.


What the implementation managers told us

“I think there is a fairly strong consensus that this isn’t something that would replace a face-to-face delivery of the programme in its entirety because there are lots of elements that can only be achieved …. face-to-face.”

Implementation Manager
“Everyone has been hugely positive about the monthly sessions that we have, the time that we have offered to people to just stop and reflect on how hard all of this has been for them.”

Implementation Manager


McElearney, A. et al (2020) Learning from adapting the Baby Steps programme in response to COVID-19. London: NSPCC.

Contact us

Our team of information specialists are on hand to find the answers to your questions.