Youth Worker Spotlight: Karrie MacDougall
Karrie MacDougall has been a staple figure in the lives of some of PEI’s youth in care.
Karrie is a member of the Child and Family Services team in PEI. She is the Team Lead for the Transitions Apartments that support youth who have aged out of care. Her work includes program development, coordinating training opportunities and managing the day-to-day operations of the Transition Apartments.
“I think the best part about my work is seeing how these youth flourish despite the adversity they’ve faced,” Karrie shares. “Currently, six out of the eight youth living in a transition apartment are youth that I’ve worked with in residential services. Seeing their level of independence is the most rewarding part of this work for me.”
The Transition Apartments opened in the summer of 2020 and include up to nine apartments for youth to live in for 25 per cent of their income. The supportive living environment provides life-skill training and opportunities for youth to get involved in their community through the Youth in Care Network and the Youth Advisory Council. Life-skill training can include anything from financial responsibility, time management and personal vehicle maintenance.
In the early months of COVID-19, Child and Family Services opened an emergency shelter for youth aging out of care at Smith Lodge in Charlottetown and then made the move to the new apartments. “It has certainly been a challenge to get a brand new program up and going, but a welcomed challenge that has positively impacted the lives of many of our youth.”
Karrie attributes some of her career success to her own personal life. “I grew up in foster care myself so I know firsthand about some of the experiences these youth go through, she says. “It plays a huge role in being able to relate to and understand the youth living in care.”
“One of our youth who has aged out of care is currently enrolled in the Child and Youth Care Worker Program at Holland College.” Karrie smiles after she is asked what she would tell someone considering this profession. “Your own life experiences are such a huge asset to this work. I think many of us get into the field for that reason, because we get it and we want to help.”
Karrie has 22 years experience working with youth in residential services, child in care teams and as a family service worker. Karrie’s dedication and advocacy work for youth is apparent in the long lasting relationships she has built, with many youth who were once in care staying in touch, years later.
May 6 is National Youth Worker Day. The division of Child and Family Services in the department of Social Development and Housing provides supports to families and children from dedicated Youth Workers, like Karrie. Services offered to Islanders include Child Protection Services, Residential Services, Foster Care, Adoption Services, Positive Parenting and Family Violence Prevention.
Senior Communications Officer
Social Development and Housing