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Life Story Work

Children in foster care often lack information about their personal histories. Moving around or not living with their birth families can lead to low self-esteem and a lack of identity. Often, when a child or young person loses track of their past it can make them feel unimportant.

At FFI, we are committed to helping children make sense of their past and plan for a healthy, stable future.

Life story work involves collecting and recording vital memories, photographs and achievements to build a chronology of a child’s life. This could include information about their birth family, foster families, support workers, schools, activities and achievements. All life story work undertaken is carried out by professionally qualified Social Worker or Social Care Leader.

By providing a range of life story tools and additional services, we can help children in care to gain a balanced understanding of their present situation and build a positive future.

Benefits of life story work

Life story work has a wealth of benefits including:

  • Enhancing self-esteem
  • Preparing a child for new relationships and minimising the trauma of transitions
  • Helping a child share their history with others
  • Resolving separation issues
  • Aiding the building of attachments and trust
  • Helping the child recognise and resolve emotions related to past life events

Typically life story work involves up to 8 sessions, with 6 direct sessions* with the child or young person.

Introductory letters sent requesting information (letters, photos, reports, etc.)

The child’s files are reviewed and the worker links with all relevant professionals who may have contributed to the child’s story.

A chronology is started.

Week or day 1

Introductory letters sent requesting information (letters, photos, reports, etc.).
The child’s files are reviewed and the worker links with all relevant professionals who may have contributed to the child’s story.
A chronology is started.

Week or day 2

1st session with child (and carer if appropriate). This session identifies and addresses the expectations of child and carer, hopes and fears, dates and times, ground rules.
A brief summary of session is completed and the child’s chronology is updated.

Week or day 3

2nd session with child (and carer if appropriate).
The focus of this session is on the child’s early years, birth and pre-school experience and events as a young child.
This may include visits to birth family members if appropriate, request historic photos if available. Photos are taken with permission. Information is gathered about family, family tree, others significant family members and friends.
A brief summary of session is completed and the child’s chronology is updated

Week or day 4

3rd session with child (and carer if appropriate).
The focus of this session is on middle years (around age 5-10).
A brief summary of session is completed and the child’s chronology is updated.

Week or day 5

4th session with child (and carer if appropriate)
The focus of this sessions is on the young person’s teenage years. Schools can be visited if appropriate. Any other visits needed are planned.
A brief summary of session is completed and the child’s chronology is updated.

Week or day 6

The work undertaken to that point is reviewed – plan and action, collate book, follow up on information requests and letters. Visits may take place to former carers / schools or birth family members, etc.
A brief summary of session is completed and the child’s chronology is updated.

Week or day 7

5th session with child – this sessions is for visits to any other significant places.
The worker prepares the child for final session next time – any outstanding gaps in information are identified and any queries from the child are responded to.
A brief summary of session is completed and the child’s chronology is updated.

Week or day 8

Finalise life story book. There is session with the child and copy of their life story is left with them.
A duplicate scanned or digital version and backed up on memory stick for the child and on child’s file. A brief summary of session is completed.
A report will be compiled outlining what was covered in the sessions and any recommendations for ongoing and future needs for young person in relation to Life Story Work.

*additional sessions may be required but will be agreed in advance.

A funding agreement must be signed and returned to FFI in advance of any assessment commencing.