Discover the ethos behind Ashdale Care’s familial home system.

The young people and children who come to us at Ashdale Care often come from chaotic and traumatising situations. To help them heal, we strive to create a warm, nurturing home for them.

As pioneers in care for children in Ireland, we look to help these young people have some choice and control over how they are cared for. We want to help them manage and recover from their trauma – rather than forcing them to conform to a life pathway that is drawn out for them by strangers. Something that can all too easily cause them further trauma and damage their sense of self worth.

Our therapeutic ethos requires the young people to feel as though their new home is a safe haven, a place where they will feel cared for and nurtured – somewhere that still feels like a family home and somewhere they can feel they belong.

A calm haven for our young people

The locations of our homes are important. To create a calm haven, they are set in rural locations, and have the benefit of landscaped gardens. Here, our young people can make a connection with nature and the environment in a way they may not have been able to before.

Having the right environment is key to the therapeutic journey. With peaceful locations in County Monaghan, County Louth and County Meath, each of our homes offers a clean, comfortable and well maintained environment. They are smaller homes, each with between two and four bedrooms. We don’t advocate ‘institutionalised’ vast children’s homes, where 

Starting to heal

With the right environment created by our homes, the children and young people can begin to feel respected and valued. From this starting point, we are able to offer them the support they need to heal from the trauma they may have experienced.

We also aim for consistency of care. We recruit staff who are ‘in it for the long run’. The children need to feel that they can depend on and build relationships with those who care for them, and not be worried that they will not be staying around.

We do look for the care and respect to work both ways. Because we use a familial home environment, our young people are encouraged to take some responsibility for their home – helping out with day-to-day tasks. These life skills form an important part of preparation for their life after Ashdale Care.

A home from home

Because we want our children to feel that their Ashdale home is ‘their’ home, they are encouraged to personalise their rooms. Each young person has a pocket money allowance, and is supported in accessing education that is suitable for them and their needs. This may be within a mainstream school or via our ASDAN programme, which focuses on developing skills for learning, work and life.

We will also support them in recognising behavioural boundaries and our expectations in relation to pain-based behaviours, as well as learning a mutual respect of each other and the staff in the homes.

Celebrating achievements

Of course there will always be some fun too! The staff in our homes are always looking for something to celebrate – whether that’s birthdays, Christmas or the children’s achievements. Cake is never far away!

Our young people also have the chance to get away during the school holidays, at Ashdale Care’s holiday home in Co. Donegal.

Discover more about Ashdale Care and what we offer to our staff and the young people we care for.