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Lifebooks Training


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Lifebooks Training for Foster Parents

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Lifebooks Training

  1. 1. Lifebook Introduction to Lifebooks for the Foster Child
  2. 2. Foster Parents Society of Ontario LIFEBOOKS FOR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
  3. 3. Foster Parents Society of Ontario A LIFEBOOK IS.... • A memory record • A scrapbook history of a child’s life • A picture and written record of the foster child’s journey though life • A collection of photos, memorabilia, awards, records and history assembled in chronological order. • Lifebooks can be as simple or as elaborate as you like depending on your own talents, available time and the interest of the child in adding his/her own work to the book. The important thing is that your child has a record to keep into adulthood.
  4. 4. Foster Parents Society of Ontario WHY A LIFEBOOK? • To provide each child with a continuing record of his/her life. Dates places, photos provide memories • To establish memories of their place in the foster family • To have a history of themselves to help make sense of their own lives • To have something tangible to share with others: biological family, friends, therapists etc. • A medium to help children to express their feelings about the past and the present.
  5. 5. Foster Parents Society of Ontario WHO IS A LIFEBOOK FOR? • Any foster child who comes into your home. Whether for a month or years. Natural children too will appreciate having their own Lifebooks. The Lifebook is usually compiled by the foster parents with the foster child assisting and providing input as is appropriate for their age. • Some children will arrive from another home with a Lifebook - which you can then help the child maintain. • Some will arrive with a collection of pictures, and precious mementos. The foster parent can show the child how he/she will help preserve these precious things.
  6. 6. Foster Parents Society of Ontario WHO IS A LIFEBOOK FOR? • The Lifebook album is to become the child’s possession once old enough to be trusted with the contents. As time passes there will be a series of albums. • The Lifebook is for the child and if he/she is too young or irresponsible to keep with his/her belongings then the child should have easy access to it. • If foster child moves be sure new family is informed of the Lifebook, or place it with the social worker.
  7. 7. Foster Parents Society of Ontario COST • Cost of creating a Lifebook will vary with the materials used. An elaborate scrapbook with purchased cutouts and fancy papers will obviously cost more than a home created scrapbook. The book does not need to be costly but will certainly be a valuable creation for your child. • Most Agencies will refund the cost of basic materials such as the binder, pages and a limited number of photos. Check with your Agency to see what costs can be reimbursed.
  8. 8. Foster Parents Society of Ontario HOW DO I START? • Ideally start the day a foster child arrives in your home. • Take a picture of him/her as soon as possible. • Record tidbits of info about the first day to put in the Lifebook. • For younger children you could measure his/her height and trace the hand • Keep records etc from that day forward.
  9. 9. Foster Parents Society of Ontario IT IS NEVER TOO LATE! Start the day the child moves in Or Start today. It is never too late.
  10. 10. Foster Parents Society of Ontario WHAT TO PUT IN THE LIFEBOOK Pictures....Pictures....Pictures • It is important for the child to have pictures of him/her self interacting with foster family and biological family if available. (Bio family can take pictures at visits or social worker can take pics of bio family together. • Holiday pictures: Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, family outings.
  11. 11. Foster Parents Society of Ontario WHAT TO PUT IN THE LIFEBOOK • Sports events: remember the big events like tournaments and snap pictures at practices and informal events too. • Going bowling? Bring along the camera and snap a picture of the family having fun together. • Pictures of everyday events: Bike riding, pumpkin carving, swimming, digging in the sandbox. • Memories of the child being a part of the family.
  12. 12. Foster Parents Society of Ontario WHAT TO PUT IN THE LIFEBOOK • Try to get pictures from biological family. If they are reluctant, then, with social workers assistance the pictures could be borrowed and copied. • CAS files can also be a source of historical pictures. These pictures of good family interactions will stir memories for decades to come.
  13. 13. Foster Parents Society of Ontario • Once you have a beginning, go back and fill in as much as possible of the past. • Some children who are being moved from one home to another will arrive with a Lifebook and all you will have to do is upkeep. • Others will need you to do the research and compile as much as possible of the past for him/her. • Read your child’s CAS file, and ask social worker what information you can record in child’s Lifebook. Some recommend including the specific reasons why the child was placed in foster care - check with child’s social worker before recording any facts. FILL IN THE PAST
  14. 14. Foster Parents Society of Ontario • Record any other significant events known in child’s history. • Biological Parents: If appropriate ask for anecdotes of child’s life with bio parents; ask for developmental history. (birth weight, age walking etc.) • Lock of hair. • Add a family tree of the biological family. Add their birth dates, information on foster child's siblings ages, names, dates of birth. • On another page add a family tree of your family including your foster child. FILL IN THE PAST
  15. 15. Foster Parents Society of Ontario • Get copies: birth certificates, SIN no., documents, medical records, history of illnesses, hospital visits, surgeries etc. • Facts: All places, towns, schools attended, foster homes, bio parents history with child, dates he/she lived with which parent or both, schools attended. • Child can add a sheet with likes and dislikes and his/her best friends, favourite activities. (Date this as information will change at different ages) FILL IN THE PAST
  16. 16. Foster Parents Society of Ontario • Photos of social workers and dates involved. • Awards; from school, sport events, clubs, etc. • Memorabilia i.e. Ticket stubs from movies, special events, legend/map of Wonderland or the Zoo, etc. • Don’t forget to record dates, locations and names of everything! FILL IN THE PAST
  17. 17. Foster Parents Society of Ontario FILL IN THE PAST • Any letters the child has received. Write your child a letter welcoming him to your family, or tell him how much he belongs in your family. • If child is moved include goodbye letters
  18. 18. Foster Parents Society of Ontario FILL IN THE PAST • Get permission to glean any information available from school OSR. We had a 12 year old foster son with no pictures of his early years. From his OSR we were able to get the information of his moves (with bio family) as the dates and schools were all listed and the contact person indicated which parent he was living with. The school allowed me to borrow the only picture on his file-age 5. We had a reprint made. That picture was very important to our foster son. It was all he had of his childhood.
  19. 19. Foster Parents Society of Ontario FILL IN THE PAST • The Lifebook can include diary-like entries of little episodes that can make us laugh and have a good feeling about the past. • Children with Overseas Orphanage history: If possible provide pictures of orphanage, information about the geographical area and information about the reasons he/she was adopted.
  20. 20. Foster Parents Society of Ontario ENGAGE YOUR FOSTER CHILD IN THE LIFEBOOK • Encourage your child to participate as much as is age appropriate. • For young children record their comments, and their cute sayings as well. • Older children can be encouraged to draw or write about feelings, memories, etc. • As much as the child is interested encourage him/her to take a part in the entire Lifebook process, from purchasing materials such as stickers and pretty paper, to choosing what to put in the Lifebook (special artwork, pictures he likes best, etc).
  21. 21. Foster Parents Society of Ontario ENGAGE YOUR FOSTER CHILD IN THE LIFEBOOK • Some teens might really enjoy working on this project, others may be disinterested and the foster parent will need to make the record for him/her. Whether the teen is interested or not the Lifebook is still an important part of his/her history.
  22. 22. Foster Parents Society of Ontario A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF LIFEBOOK IS… • As you create this book with your child, make it a therapeutic process. • Engage your child in sharing memories, or talking about feelings. • Encourage him/her to write down, or draw pictures about things that have happened or how he/she feels about things.
  23. 23. Foster Parents Society of Ontario A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF LIFEBOOK IS • Encourage her/him to share feelings about present situation also. • Revisit this exercise at various times as the feelings and memories will often be different at different stages in life. Give your child every opportunity to express his/her feelings.
  24. 24. Foster Parents Society of Ontario PICTURES • Most cameras offer you the option of having a date stamp appear right on the picture. • Digital photos have made memory keeping even easier. We can see our pictures before developing and discard the poor ones which can be a $ saving feature when having pictures developed. • Whether you use digital or 35 mm most developers can provide you a copy of your pictures on CD
  25. 25. Foster Parents Society of Ontario PICTURES If you have digital camera and a CD OR DVD burner keep a copy of your child’s photos on CD/DVD . (Be sure to make extra copies for archives since CDs tend to scratch). At least once per year copy all the child’s photos to a CD/DVD and label with the year. Provide a pocket in his Lifebook to keep the CD/DVD safe. Some children that have access to a computer will enjoy looking at their picture collection on the computer.
  26. 26. Foster Parents Society of Ontario PICTURES If you have a very good photo-quality printer and use good quality photo paper you can produce your own photos at home. Using cropping and red eye tools can give you a professional quality photo.
  27. 27. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Don’t be tempted into thinking that having videotapes and CD copies of pictures is enough. There is nothing that can replace the Lifebook. It can easily be shared, is portable, no hardware is required to view; and it provides a place to chronologically add mementos, documents, awards, ribbons, letters, cards and special artwork..
  28. 28. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK • Three ring binder everything!! - A loose-leaf style scrapbook is imperative! • It can be easily rearranged. • Additions can be made in chronological order
  29. 29. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK • You have a choice of the regular school/office size three ring binder. or • The larger scrapbook size binders sold specifically for scrapbooks and photo albums
  30. 30. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK There are some advantages to using the school type three ring binder: • readily available at most office supply stores and department stores • economically priced • All the add-ins like pocket sheets and clear protective pockets are readily available for this size binder • Convenient size - i.e. It can easily be packed in a travel bag, will fit on a shelf or in a drawer; as compared to the awkward scrapbook size which requires much more space.
  31. 31. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK You can make a very personalized Lifebook using the three ring binder that is sold with a clear pocket on the front cover. These are designed for you to personalize. You can add a picture and caption of your child or your child can prepare a special piece of artwork for the cover. Use your imagination!
  32. 32. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK Zippered 3 ring binders – are ideal as they provide extra security for all the valuable memorabilia stored in the Lifebook. They are quite portable without risk of the contents getting wet or lost.
  33. 33. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK Most children will flip through these Lifebooks many times - be sure your creation is sturdy!
  34. 34. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK • Self sticking photo pages are fine for photos. • Other types of inserts will be needed for all the rest of the interesting stuff that can be added.
  35. 35. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK Clear plastic loose leaf sheet protectors are great for photos and for documents, artwork etc.
  36. 36. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MATERIALS FOR A LIFEBOOK How to use clear plastic sheet protectors for photos. Using colored (or white) sheet paper for background arrange photos on sheet (use acid free glue stick). Add typed or handwritten text to fill in details. Do the same thing on another sheet. Put sheets back to back and slide into the sheet protector so there are photos displayed on each side of the page.
  37. 37. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Pocket Pages Plastic sheet inserts with 4 clear pockets per page are designed for photos but can be used to add all kinds of mementos: • Business cards of significance, • School ID cards (high school) • Library cards, • Small birth certificate copy, • Award pins, • Medals, • Ticket stubs. You can tape the tops of the pocket shut if there is risk of contents falling out.
  38. 38. Foster Parents Society of Ontario CD Pocket Pages • If you are making your child a CD collection of his photos in addition to his Lifebook add a single CD page in chronological order whenever you have compiled a CD. • Be sure to mark child’s name and date on the CD (permanent markers can be used to write directly on the CD)
  39. 39. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Full Size Envelope Pocket with a Flap on the Side or the Top • Designed to hold bulky things or several sheets of paper. The flap will have a Velcro seal. • Good for mementos - anything a child would like to keep. • Thickness is still a consideration for inclusion in a book. • (See Memento Boxes below for discussion of keeping larger objects)
  40. 40. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Colorful Background Sheets for Your Pictures • If you wish to mount your pictures on interesting background sheets they can be purchased in single sheets with an endless number of themes from “princesses to biking”. • Boys will love all the sports theme and outdoor theme paper that is available to use as a background for pictures about themselves doing these activities.
  41. 41. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Colorful Background Sheets for Your Pictures • Girls will also find all their sports, outdoor activities, girly things, etc in paper. • Look for seasonal themes too, paper with tropical fish as a background for pictures of beach play or swimming in the pool.
  42. 42. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Colorful Background Sheets for Your Pictures
  43. 43. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Stickers No Lifebook is complete without a full complement of stickers!! They can be found at the dollar store and in almost any department store. You can put together a simple album or dress it up with lots of graphics, stickers and color. The important thing is that your child has his own book about his life to help her/him feel he belongs and his life is important!
  44. 44. Foster Parents Society of Ontario SOURCES FOR MATERIALS FOR LIFEBOOKS Department, craft and office supply stores such as : Walmart, Zellers, Staples, Office Depot, Micheals, even dollar stores all carry many supplies to keep the Lifebook in good order and creatively put together.
  45. 45. Foster Parents Society of Ontario SCRAPBOOKING • If you choose to put together a creative visual memory book Lifebook you can use many scrapbooking supplies that are now readily available at the above mentioned stores. • There are a wealth of on-line sites offering ideas and materials via the internet. Search under “Scrapbooking”.
  46. 46. Foster Parents Society of Ontario SCRAPBOOKING • You need not be a ‘crafty’ person to help your child have an exquisite display of her/his life. Simply adding a few appropriate theme stickers to the pages of photos will add excitement and charm. • Using colored background paper and adding your own art will give your child extra visual pleasure.
  47. 47. Foster Parents Society of Ontario • Birthday Party: Centre the picture of child and cake and surround with pictures of guests and games etc. Lock it in with coordinating colors (background paper) stickers of party themes. Then type or handwrite the party details. Kids love the little anecdotes - (Mary’s favourite gift, or the dog chewed the wrapping paper etc). • Fishing: A fishing picture of your son proudly displaying his 3 inch fish with the caption “Danny shows off the Catch of the Day” Examples
  48. 48. Foster Parents Society of Ontario • “Our Trip to Wonderland”: Danny ate too many treats and had to rest for a while. The day ended after lots of fun and a ride on the Pirate Ship. • You can cut pictures into interesting shapes or angles. This adds interest and trims away unnecessary background. Give them happy memories to think about. Examples
  49. 49. Foster Parents Society of Ontario More ideas: • Make a collage of birthday gift wrap and cards - one or two page spread depending on amount of supplies and pictures to use. Then use this collage as background for pictures of the birthday. Add details like dates, names, etc. typed or written on separate paper and glued on. • Use acid free glue sticks (most are).Then slip the pages into the plastic loose leaf sheet protectors and voila!
  50. 50. Foster Parents Society of Ontario USING SOFTWARE TO MAKE SCRAPBOOK PAGES • To carry the process another step, if you have a graphic layout program such as CorelDraw, you can create complete scrapbook pages on your computer and then print them using your photo quality printer and the photo paper. • Using clipart and adding text to the pages gives you all in one. There are many clipart sites available on the internet and CorelDraw (and other graphic programs) come with a clipart library also. These programs can put colorful borders on the pages or add frames around the pictures. • Print the pages and slip into the clear plastic sheet protectors.
  51. 51. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Whether your child’s Lifebook is a plain jane or an exquisite piece of artwork – THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO PROVIDE A RECORD A CELEBRATION OF HIS/HER LIFE IN BOOK FORM • Try to include fun details that will provide smiles and happy memories in the years ahead. • The stories you write, the funny tales you tell of his/her life will delight and encourage and help paint a picture of life as it was.
  52. 52. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MEMENTO BOX Some children come into care with ‘precious’ mementos items too bulky for a Lifebook- and continue to collect items that they cannot part with . For these kids a memento box works well in addition to the Lifebook - which just cannot be ignored!
  53. 53. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MEMENTO BOX The memento box can be any size box that you feel is manageable - based on your own storage space or child’s storage area: – it can be a Rubbermaid Tub, – a purchased decorated storage box, – a simple shoebox - plain or child decorated; or – a basket with a cover.
  54. 54. Foster Parents Society of Ontario MEMENTO BOX The important thing is to provide the child a safe area to keep items important to him/her - sentimental items (we’re not talking about Johnny’s hockey card collection here!). In our home, once a box size has been agreed upon, that is “the box” and once it is full, decisions have to be made as to what to keep and what to dispose of . Some children could easily fill a room with boxes of sentimental stuff. The child might need some coaxing but this needs to be the child’s decision. Gently help the child decide what is really important and what can be discarded.
  55. 55. Foster Parents Society of Ontario STORING YOUR LIFEBOOK CREATION MATERIALS As your collection of background papers, snip-its of interesting stick-ons and sheets of stickers grows it can be a challenge to keep them organized and readily available without incurring damage. Make yourself a materials binder using a three ring binder and the same clear plastic protective pages that you use in the Lifebook.
  56. 56. Foster Parents Society of Ontario STORING YOUR LIFEBOOK CREATION MATERIALS Slip the various sheets of background paper into the pockets and do the same with the stickers. If you have a great variety of pages it might be simpler to put all sports theme papers in one pocket, all birthday themes in another pocket. The same with the stickers. They can be divided into Boys, Girls, Birthdays, Summer (for things like camping and fishing stickers and swimming) Winter, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc. When you or your child are looking for materials to dress up your Lifebook pages they are readily available without having to rifle through a box and risking crumpling or damage to these materials.
  57. 57. Foster Parents Society of Ontario CONCLUSION The Lifebook is an important book – for recorded history, – to show friends, family; and – to provide lasting memories. Remember Lifebooks are works in progress. They should be regularly updated with new information, fun activities the child has enjoyed, sports involved in, etc.
  58. 58. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Links • We have provided you with printable pages that you can use to add to your child’s Lifebook. • These pages can be saved on your computer and printed for use with your foster children. • Choose any pages that you think are appropriate for your child. • “This is my House” is available in two choices: An apartment and a house. Help your child fill in these pages or use them as a starting idea to encourage your child to make his own page with drawings and comments.
  59. 59. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Links to Printable Pages Click on selection for downloadable Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Printable pages. About Me Introduction Awards Bio Family My House My Apt. Bldg. Happy Foster Family Sad Like Doing Wishes Entire Collection
  60. 60. Foster Parents Society of Ontario Course Certificate If you wish to receive a Course Certificate, please do the following: Follow the link below to access the Lifebooks quiz. Fill in your name as you wish it to appear on your certificate and provide an email address to mail your certificate to. Click here to start the quiz A Course Certificate will be emailed to you shortly after successful completion of the quiz. A mark of 85% or higher is required. Thank you for your interest in this online training course.