Imaginif prompts for daily writers.
If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the below photo (changes daily) as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and your link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Stories below are copyright and are Megan Bayliss' writing around the below daily picture prompt.

Scrapbook Life Story Work with Kids in Foster Care.

I have had so many recent requests to facilitate Life Story Work trainings that it is impossible for me to cover them all. Instead, I have decided to share my training outline so that other interested workers in the field have a blue print of what I do. If you are going to use my training outline please just credit me with a link back to this article. To view more than the training outline, have a look at two articles I wrote at families.com: Confessions of a Life Story Worker, Part 1 of 2 and Part 2 of 2.

Life Story Work Training Outline:

Introductions – participants to introduce themselves by name, where they work and by answering four questions:

  1. WHERE have you come from today?

  2. WHAT was it like coming here today to learn about life story work?

  3. WHEN did you decide to learn about life story work, and

  4. WHY did you come?

Today’s workshop concerns itself with:

  1. why foster children often feel left out, different, and disconnected from who they are,

  2. a recipe of what to collect for your foster child’s life story book,

  3. what to write to explain what has happened and how to help the child integrate the reality,

  4. different ways to preserve memories where culture/circumstances demand something else,

  5. a scrapbook model to put it all together so that your foster child can keep and cherish their memories forever.

Why foster children often feel different

  • Unusual situation living with someone they don’t know.

  • Have inherent feelings of worthlessness, guilt, confusion.

  • Want to be like other families, but can’t.

Problems of attachment: Attachment theories state that secure attachment happens in the first two years of life.

Go through attachment types: secure, anxious ambivalent, anxious avoidant, disorganized.

Recipe of what to collect for a life book: Pass around Reflections of a Life Story Worker. See content in Confessions of a Life Story Worker, Parts 1 and 2 (above).

Define difference between life story book (concentrates on child and building self esteem) and life story work (therapeutic process that includes all information and multiple truths in child’s life).

Life story books are books that anyone can put together with little thought. They have a place and they assist in giving children a sense of identity but they do not assist in integrating difficult and traumatic life circumstances. They focus on photos to record information.

NSW state welfare department provides printed life story books to all children aged between 0 and 11. The book is made by the child with assistance from the foster carer and information from the statutory worker.

Life Story Work mandates that the child should not be the author of their book but rather an active partner in the preparation of the book. The work focuses on INFORMATION and uses photos to support the information.

Life Story work is a three part process:

  1. Information gathering,

  2. Integration, and

  3. Making the book.

How to gather information for Life Story Work:

  • PARTNERSHIPS – always do with the knowledge of the Statutory agency,

  • Talk to child's extended family members,

  • Reports,

  • Internet searches,

  • Past addresses,

  • Dr’s, Child Safety Workers, School Teachers, Elders.

What to write to explain what has happened and how to help the child integrate the reality: In life story work it is the workers job to write the book and to help the child to integrate the reality.

  • Many of us are already working therapeutically with the children. If we’re not, we remain as a partner in the process and engage a therapist to write the book.

  • We write notes after counseling sessions so why not turn our notes into pages for a life story work document.

  • This is not a therapeutic workshop so am not going into interventions – each of us work differently and have different therapeutic frameworks that we draw interventions from.

  • The starting point for writing is with fact and truth. However, there are variables of and many different versions of truth. These can all be included.

  • Do not gloss over unpleasant information – the child has to know this factual base for removal from their family.

  • Remember the confines of confidentiality and child protection principles – if you receive disclosures this must be passed onto the statutory Department.

  • Helpful to write a movement chart of our own day to get us started.

  • Challenge writers block and just start writing. START – no-one else is going to do it.

Different ways to preserve memories where culture/circumstances demand something else: Books are not the only way to achieve Life Story Work. Can use boxes, cylinders, videos, etc. Different cultures, different ways of preserving memories.

Sharing of resources – what do other people already do?

A scrapbook model to put it all together so that your foster child can keep and cherish their memories forever.

  • Scrap booking is a process of recording memories in a way that keeps the memories.

  • Frequently the focus is on journaling – using words to tell the history and having photos or embellishments to support the words.

  • Scrap booking is achieved by using acid free paper, glue and embellishments.

  • Scrap booking is interactive, interesting and HUGE business.

  • Scrap booking is a great way to put together Life Story Work.

  • Show examples of complete Life Story Work Scrap Books.

Make a Paper Bag album of how you came to be here today: Using the paper bag in your workshop bag we’re going to make a mini album using the information you supplied at the beginning of the workshop.

Making a scrapbook page using the photo you have bought with you: Using the photo to support your words, consider what somebody else may want to know about the photograph – Where, when, who, why. What are the multiple truths connected to the photo? Where could you source more information from?

  • Start with a title, plan your page layout, write your journaling and put it all together.

  • Time spent on completing Scrapbook Page.

Back to large group to discuss how to possibly use such an expensive and time consuming process in the work we are doing with children.

Workshop end.

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