Children in foster care frequently lose track of where they have lived. A Lifebook is a place to keep track of their placement histories, achievements, and important relationships.
Lifebooks provide journaling pages with questions that allow children to express thoughts, feelings, and ask questions about their lives. These pages help children understand their pasts.
Lifebooks contain pages focused on the child’s strengths like “I am SPECIAL.” Filling out these pages help children discover their unique positive qualities and abilities.
Children learn more about their birth families through pages like “My Mother.” Lifebooks also provide spots for children to attach photos of their birth families.
“A lot of kids look for their fault in the situation. Those tend to be the most therapeutic cases, because they’ve gone to that place where they think it’s all their fault or they don’t understand at all, and they think since no one’s talking to them about it, it must be sort of taboo. The Lifebook gives them permission to talk about things they may already had questions about.” -Laura Hart, LSSI Lifebook Specialist
Mary Sue Waite, former LSSI Lifebook Specialist, introduces the Lifebook. She describes the Lifebook process. Also, she highlights a case in which Lifebooks improved a child’s self-esteem.
“Trauma has a way of dulling and changing memories. The Lifebook with its key life truths remains the same over time. As a child tries out assorted foster homes, they often lose life facts and an organized sense of history. The Lifebook chronicles where they have lived and at what age, at a bare minimum. This helps the child with building a sense of identity.” -Beth O’Malley, MEd