When we are dealing with the provision of care, excellence is not just a goal but a commitment that we hold ourselves to at Ashdale Care. This commitment is not just a guiding principle but a driving force behind every decision we make. As we look back at 2023 through our latest quality report, it is clear that this commitment to excellence has given us some remarkable results and helps us to set the highest standards in enhanced therapeutic care. 

Child-Centric Care

At the heart of our care is the commitment we have to each child and young person. Everything we do at Ashdale is to ensure that the child always comes first. With this in mind, we are so delighted to introduce the Ashdale Learning Hub. This space was created as our dedicated educational space. The Learning Hub allows us to prioritise learning through a developmental trauma-informed approach. 

The Learning Hub is made up of: 

  • Two purpose-designed classrooms
  • A dedicated Art Therapy Room 
  • Two Sensory Regulation spaces 
  • A Multi-Purpose/Creative Activity room 
  • An Indoor Social Activity room
  • Individual Therapy spaces
  • Extensive garden and playground area

Within this environment our team of teachers, psychologists, occupational therapists and art therapists are able to offer a variety of classroom activities assisted by therapeutic supports. 

Another part of our commitment to putting the child first is giving each child a voice, and listening to what they have to say. We seek regular feedback from our young people, and conduct surveys over the course of the year, to hear how our young people feel about their care. We can now take these valuable insights and implement solutions on a home by home basis, use in our homes Quality Improvement plans, ensuring that each child feels seen and heard. 

Quality Improvement

We are consistently improving the quality of our care through various channels. We are rigorous with our standards throughout the organisation in order to maintain the highest standards. We believe in diversity, equality and inclusivity in our governance practices. This creates transparent decision making and empowers every person on our team’s input. Our recent Governance Assurance Framework reflects our commitment to these principles helping us to maintain equality and inclusivity across all aspects of our organisation. On a day to day basis we address compliance, staff wellbeing, performance metrics and service quality using a mix of quantitative and qualitative metrics. Through continuous and rigorous assessment against national standards and regulations we improve and uphold our ethos of excellence in the provision of care. 

The real proof of the care we provide is the outcomes we see. As many of you know, in 2023, Ashdale Care welcomed 24 new admissions. A testament to the growth we have experienced, the dedication and expertise of our teams, giving us the ability to reach and care for these young people and children. Through a trauma-informed approach we provided essential support and care that was tailored specifically to the needs of each young person. This commitment to excellence is really evident in the individualised bespoke training provided by our Therapeutic Support team and training team, who equip our staff to deliver personalised care and interventions.

Notably, two young people successfully transitioned back to their own homes after receiving intensive support. Four young people smoothly transitioned to aftercare services upon  celebrating their 18th birthdays. Four young people returned to placements within Northern Ireland. 

Staff Training and Development

Ashdale is continuing to invest in training and developing our team. This is a cornerstone to our strategic planning for the future, so that we always deliver the highest quality of care to our young people. We have a meticulous and comprehensive induction journey to integrate our organisation values with essential training areas such as Developmental Trauma Awareness, CARE Model Training, and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI). Throughout the program new employees receive extensive instruction in trauma-informed care principles and practical techniques for crisis prevention and intervention. We also prioritise opportunities for reflection, assessment and ongoing support to facilitate seamless transitions for new team members. 

In a groundbreaking initiative, Ashdale Care has partnered with Cornell University to implement best practice, evidence based programmes in residential child care. We are leveraging Cornell’s extensive research and expertise in trauma-informed care and outcome focused models such as CARE and TCI. This means AShdale is at the forefront of positive development in Ireland. By integrating international best practices with our own innovative approaches, we are paving the way for new standards of care. We are giving our team unique and fundamental opportunities to learn and grow, ensuring that every individual receives the support and resources they need to thrive, particularly with the launch of our new National Training Centre as mentioned in our last blog. By prioritising the continuous development of our team we can reaffirm our commitment to rebuilding lives and transforming residential care for the better. 

Ashdale’s Growth & Future Plans

To continue to provide the very best opportunities for both our staff and for those in our care, we are always looking towards the future. We successfully opened 4 new homes in 2023, and plan to continue this trajectory in 2024. We plan to expand our teams to ensure that everyone feels supported in their roles. We are continuing to develop the Ashdale Learning Hub, expanding the therapy groups, educational classes and the individual sessions. We will be delivering specialist Developmental Trauma Training in modules across 2024. 

Our focus is, and will always be, to enhance the care we provide through every means possible. We are embracing and elevating best practices and working to extend our reach to serve more communities who are in need. Through this work, we hope to strengthen our position and a reliable and influential presence in youth care. 

To read more about our year of 2023, and learn more about what we have planned for 2024, download the Ashdale Care Quality Report 2023 here.