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Dundee Charity Praised for Fostering Sense of Community

A Dundee charity, which provides safe and nurturing homes to vulnerable children and young people, has been praised for the community it has created to support and attract foster carers.

Established in 1815, Carolina House Trust provides safe and nurturing homes to vulnerable children and young people. The Trust supports carers in offering family-based care to children and young people who cannot live with their own family for as long as necessary. At present, the Trust is supporting a growing number of families across Dundee, Perthshire, Angus, and Fife and, due to a national shortage, is actively seeking to recruit even more carers.

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Carolina House Trust’s Foster Care and Adult Placement (Continuing Care) services were inspected by the Care Inspectorate from December 2023 to February 2024.

The Trust received a ‘5’, which equates to ‘very good’, in terms of how well it supports people’s wellbeing.

The inspector gathered views and feedback from caregivers and young people in foster family households, Carolina House Trust staff, the fostering panel and external professionals.   The inspector also observed practice and daily life, reviewed documents, analysed survey responses and observed a fostering panel and team meeting.

The inspection report, dated 8 February 2024, confirmed that children, young people and their families were treated with dignity, respect and compassion and that children and young people grew in confidence as they learnt new skills in education and community settings. The inspection also confirmed that caregivers felt supported by the ‘extended family’ approach promoted by the service, often referred to as the ‘Carolina House Trust Community’.

The report noted that caregivers’ support groups offered additional opportunities to share ideas and enjoy peer support. Principles of a growth mindset, which include honesty, respect and learning from mistakes and everyday situations, were embedded in the service’s policies, procedures and practices. The management team led by example through honest conversations and acknowledging mistakes, opromoting a safe culture of learning within the Carolina House Trust community.

In addition, the inspection welcomed the fact that children and young people participated in a wide range of local and agency activities and events and that staff and caregivers enjoyed quality training, providing evidence of how learning was applied in practice.

Sara Lovelock, Chief Operating Officer of Carolina House Trust, said, “I would like to thank all of the young people, carers, staff and community members who positively engaged with the inspection process. All of this hard work has resulted in a very positive inspection outcome for both services based on thorough and respectful scrutiny.

Sara Lovelock

Sara Lovelock

“We have been supporting children and young people in Scotland for over 200 years and, in that time, society’s attitudes to caring for vulnerable children and our knowledge of the effects of trauma on children have evolved. We move with the times and contribute our knowledge and experience to change policy, practice and promote better outcomes for care-experienced young people and care leavers.

“While fostering is exceptionally rewarding, it brings its challenges and we are here to help caregivers as they navigate that path. From specialist, bespoke training on everything from challenging behaviour to developing and embedding a growth mindset, as well as a calendar of informal get-togethers, we are always here for our families. Also, because we are a small charity, we know our families and their dynamics well.

“We also work closely with our communities by supporting initiatives whose values sync with ours, from sponsoring Theraponies and football clubs to offering Foundation Apprenticeships. We put opportunities for young people at the heart of all our decision-making. As a Growth Mindset community, we welcome all opportunities to celebrate success, but also to improve. Most importantly, a positive inspection report means that the young people, who are at the heart of what we do, are found to be thriving with the support of our caregivers and the community we create together.”

The inspection also highlighted opportunities to undertake formal life story work, recommending that age-appropriate information be made available to help children and young people understand circumstances and decisions before coming into care, such as their family of origin, care history and decisions about where they should live.   The Trust is in the process of adding additional training to its programme and highlighting this opportunity to local authorities.

In addition, the inspection recommended that children and young people be involved in leading and developing their own personal plans. This should include, but not be limited to, identifying triggers and support strategies for emotional and physical safety and the development of healthy coping behaviours. Going forward, the Trust will ensure that young people’s plans are individualised and more conversational so that the young people can relate to them.

To access the full reports, visit

  • Fostering – Fostering Service

https://careinspectorate.com/berengCareservices/html/reports/getPdfBlob.php?id=318625

  • Continuing Care – Adult Placement Service

https://careinspectorate.com/berengCareservices/html/reports/getPdfBlob.php?id=318626

For more information on fostering, visit www.carolinahousetrust.org.uk

ENDS