Life story work answers the why, when, who and the questions about a child’s life experiences. They should be a means to allow a child, without undue pressure, to express feelings about these events. It is a way of unraveling confusion and discarding some of the negative emotional baggage which a child may have carried.
- Life story work is more a process than a product.
- Life story work is an integral part of working with any looked after child when permanence is considered.
- Life story work is not just about producing a book but a record of information in a format to fit the needs and communication style of the child. The book/record should be part of the outcome of life story work.
- Life story work should always start with trying to establish what the child knows and understands. Some children will have a clear view of what has happened to them but may not know why. Others will be very confused. The purpose of life story work is to try and ensure that the child ultimately has an accurate understanding.
1 Day Programme
This is a one day course which aims to provide an introduction to the subject, as well as building upon life story work to understand its values within the overall care plan. Although classroom based, participants will be enabled to practice skills in undertaking this work with children.
Participants will be given the opportunity to:
- Use of a range of methods to communicate effectively with children during the life story process
- Understanding of what is meant by life story work and which children might benefit most from the process
- To comprehend the importance for a child in permanence to have a later life letter.
- Workers can identify why it may be a significant part of the care plan for children who are looked after
- How to assess the most appropriate way of working with individual children with their life stories, taking into account diverse family backgrounds
- How to work effectively with the child’s network throughout the process, with professional principles and within an ethical framework
- How to use the process to increase resilience and develop emotional literacy for children in the looked after system.
2 Day Programme
This two day course provides more opportunity for skill development than the one day programme. This course explores the importance and process of completing Life Story Books and how they can be used as a tool to assist children in making transitions into permanent placements.
The aim is to give participants an understanding of what is involved and the confidence and skills needed, to compile Life Story Books with Looked After Children.
Participants will be offered the opportunity to:
- Understand what is meant by Life Story Book Work.
- Consider the importance of completing this work from the child’s perspective.
- Explore how the work should be planned in a child centred way.
- Understand how to compile a life story book.
- Understand age related life story work.
- Understand the importance of preparation, planning and materials.
- Gain sources of information.
- Identify the different approaches to life story work.
- Identify the different types of loss.
- Understand different types of separation and changes.
- Understand Life story work and beyond.