Old Fashioned Girl Names That Don T End In A Kids and Lifebooks: Tips for Social Workers

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Kids and Lifebooks: Tips for Social Workers

Every child removed from foster care deserves a clear and detailed record of their life prior to removal. When a child is waiting for a forever family, a life book can help her understand the past and prepare to move forward.

When a child is placed with a permanent family, life books are a link to the past that can inform and improve the future. Crafted with care, life books are an invaluable tool to help children navigate difficult life transitions and allow them to own their own unique histories.

Simply put, a life book is a book that tells the story of a child’s life. Like other books, life books can contain pictures, artwork, text, and other meaningful memorabilia that convey information about a child’s personal history. What child doesn’t love to be the star of their own story for an audience of their choice?

It’s pretty simple in principle…until you start dealing with abuse and neglect, multiple locations, loss and grief, complicated laws, and obstacles. How can you translate abuse, addiction and rejection into appropriate terms and images for a five-year-old? You may need to learn some new skills, but a well-crafted life book can capture even the deepest story of loss and pain.

Main components

When I was a new recruiter, the experienced writers in my office created a life book template/checklist of sorts. All our life books are available:

o information about the birth of the child

o a copy of the child’s birth certificate

o birth family information

o why the child entered child care

o history of different places

o the workers’ blessing page

To boost children’s self-esteem, our template has a very optimistic birthday page. One common line was, “When you were born, the doctors ooohed and aaahed…”

While I believed in all the components of the book of life, I never liked this series. For me, it just wasn’t right. That’s why many of our children were drug addicts, fighting for their lives. Life books are supposed to be about truth.

Lifebook facts.

Since the books of life are historical documents, there can never be lies. Sometimes, however, you may not know much about a particular event—say, when the child was born. In such cases, you may need to say, “I will cancel that . . .”

For instance:

I bet your birth mother was happy to give birth to such a beautiful baby girl, but she was also probably sad and confused because of her problems with bad drugs.

Official documents such as birth certificates and hospital birth records are an important source of factual information, and children love to see important pieces of paper that confirm their existence. Foster children sometimes need to be reminded that they, like everyone else, started life at birth.

Another way to promote the truth of the book of life is to involve the child. After all, this is his or her story. Take neighbors and markers, and find a quiet place. Young children may enjoy dictating while you write; pretend they are guests on a talk show and interview them. Other children may want to write their own words, and you can turn them into clean, printable pages.

Some facts are difficult to explain and accept. But if the event is an important part of the child’s history, include what you can in a developmentally appropriate way. A teenager may be able to understand “sexual abuse” and a birth parent who is “addicted to cocaine and alcohol,” but a younger child may be able to understand phrases like “bad start” and “couldn’t stay away from bad drugs.” .”

Coming out tells a child that things are too bad to share. The child may then fill in the blanks with very frightening dreams and a sense of guilt or shame. Truth leads to healing, and painful past events can, in time, happen “as they are.”

Family History

Think about your family for a minute. Which relatives are you after? Whose athleticism is relevant to yours? Who laughs with the same jokes as you? Whose nose (good or bad) is stuck in your face?

Much of our identity comes from being a part of the generations before us. Children who live with their birth family can find characteristics they share with their relatives. They also hear and relive family stories at the dinner table, at family gatherings, and through shared memories.

Children adopted from foster care may have fond memories of their birth family, but fewer positive stories or happy times together. When the birth family leaves their lives, they lose key relationships.

Can you imagine going through your life without meeting someone who looks like you? Imagine going through a major life event – without knowing your family’s medical history – having a baby or getting screened for cancer?

Lifebooks can help answer the questions that keep children, teens, and adults awake at night. Certified social workers often have access to detailed social histories, old medical records, and other social workers who once worked with birth parents. If visits with the birth parents are still ongoing, you have a golden opportunity to gather important facts and photos.

In my opinion, any opportunity to obtain information or photos should be treated as a last chance. Additional family photos and details about the birth family will be a treasure to the child – and to those who parent the child for the rest of their lives.

And don’t forget brothers and sisters; It has a special magic all its own. A simple page with sibling names, ages, photos and locations can do wonders.

The question is why

One of the most difficult and critical parts of life books answers the question: Why don’t I live with my birth family?

It is not wise to tell a child that their birth parent was sick (unless that is a true part of the story). Don’t sick people usually get better? And if the mother recovers, shouldn’t the child return home? What if the mother is not well – is she dead or dying? Why give this concern to children?

I tell children that their birth father, mother (or other caregiver) had problems growing up and couldn’t take care of themselves. In fact, the lawyer took care of himself so badly that he could not take care of a child – of any child – during that period of his life.

By placing the responsibility directly with the adults, we can help children work through the silly ideas expressed in rhymes like: “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back.” Many children with a history of abuse believe they were bad or somehow responsible for being taken from their birth families. As social workers, we must ensure that children do not carry this burden of false guilt in life.

I often ask children directly, “Why do you think you don’t live with your birth family?” In 10 minutes, I get more information from this question than most therapists do in 10 sessions. Depending on the circumstances, I will discuss each child’s specific situation later.

placement

The pages on the site are usually the most accurate. Start with the here and now; Make a page about the child’s current school, favorite foods, good friends, sports and favorite activities of the child. Pictures you can get. Do the same for previous placements in foster homes, group homes, or emergency shelters.

If the child is about to enter an adopted setting, a favorite page may remind the parent and child of the first time the parent and child met. Interview the parent and the child separately, and then share their words. Now you are compiling the text for the book of life.

Look for school report cards, awards, and positive words from teachers and foster parents. Rewards and praise can help children feel good about who they are—a feeling that can give them ego strength to deal with difficult transitions.

Worker’s Blessing Page

As a social worker, you may have worked with this child for months, if not years. Just before the child is placed for adoption, take the time to write one page for the end of the book. Talk about the child’s strengths and what you think is special about him or her. Include a funny story or idea.

It is important to allow a child to move forward and be happy. This is a powerful message for the coming years.

Getting It Done

A team approach to life books can be most rewarding. If the adoptive parents can capture a few moments of the child’s life – perhaps take a photo of the birth family and share a photo of the adoptive family – then the book of life has begun. Social workers and therapists can add to the registry.

When the child is adopted, carefully transfer the book to the adoptive family. Advise adoptive parents to keep the life book in a special and safe place. If the child wants the book in their room, make an original copy for them. The child will decide when the book of life will be released and parents should never share the book without the child’s permission.

This book can be a part of adoption anniversary celebrations, help with a school family tree assignment, open the door to conversations about adoption and identity as a child grows, and help a child cope with painful loss. get busy his birth family. Then again, it may be something that the child can appreciate only when he starts his own family. The book of life should be available when the child is ready.

Soon after I started working on life books for children, I heard from families whose children had my first attempts at simple typing. To my delight, they reported that life books have become more valuable over time. Habitat Books provide foster and adoptive children with important, life-affirming information: basic factual information about themselves, as well as understanding where they come from and why they have a new family. It also allowed them to remember and grieve their losses and bond better with their new families. What a gift!

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