A programme run by a major American university is helping Ashdale Care use the latest research to improve the quality of care of the children in our homes

At Ashdale Care we are always looking at ways to improve the quality of care for the children and young people that we work with, so we are proud to be working with the world-renowned Cornell University and its Residential Child Care project.

CARE stands for Children and Residential Experiences programme. This innovative system uses the latest research to help to improve the quality of care of children like ours, who live in group care settings.

The programme offers a clear framework, which helps both our staff and our young people stick to processes and routines, and avoid conflict. Its consistent approach is something that is vital in allowing young people to develop and achieve.

The programme focuses not only on helping children grow and develop while they are with us, but on giving them the life skills and support they will need once they leave us.

Residential Child Care Project Banner




The Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change (CARE) practice model is built around six principles:

Developmentally focus

This recognises that all children have a need for growth and development and learn best when their skills are within their Zone of Proximal Development (somewhere between what they can do by themselves and what they can achieve with some support). It also recognises that they need support to allow them to engage and then grow.

Family involved

Keeping contact with the young person’s family and planning for community support is key to a successful return to life after Ashdale Care. It is also important for helping them maintain their cultural and ethnic identity.

Relationship based

Success in life and healthy development rely on an ability to form relationships, while those relationships also help children to grow and develop. Trust is an important part of the equation, as the young people will respond to those they feel they can rely on.

Competence centred

All of our activities and interactions with the young person should be designed to teach life skills. These include: problem-solving skills, flexibility, critical thinking, and insight. As care workers it is our responsibility to help children to be motivated to learn these important skills.

Trauma informed

Because trauma can have a negative effect on children’s growth and development, it is important to ensure an environment that is non-violent and safe. This will help our young people to learn a different response to stressful situations. We should also recognise that challenging behaviour can be pain-based.

Ecologically oriented

Interacting with the environment is how children learn. We also recognise that their environment will be affected by interactions with other young people and staff. We need to offer them opportunities to participate and interact in the environment if we are going to help them develop and grow.

Something this important needs time and effort, so we are working with staff from Cornell University over a three-year period, with training offered to all of our staff on all levels of the CARE principles. Continual support from the University will ensure we learn to use the principles on a daily basis.

Cornell University Crest founded a.d. 1865









Discover more about Ashdale Care at: https://www.ashdalecare.com/