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Promoting Effective Direct Work With Children The value of interactive resources. Bridget Betts IFCO Madison 2005. 1 in 4 8 1976 1997 2003 28000 37000 50000 129000 523000 900000.
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IFCO Madison 2005
What lessons have we learnt from the experiences of those who have lived apart from their birth families, and have perhaps lost part of themselves along the way?
“Every child will have his or her wishes and feelings listened to, recorded and taken into account. Where they are not acted upon, the reasons for not doing so will be explained to the child and properly recorded.”
“Children will be give clear explanations and information about adoption, covering what happens at each stage (including court), and how long each stage is likely to take in their individual case.”
“Children will be well prepared for joining a new family. This will include clear appropriate information on their birth family and life before adoption, and information about adopters and their family. Children are entitled to information provided by their birth families, which will be kept safe by agencies and adopters. It will be provided to adopted children, or adults, at a time and in a manner that reflects their age and understanding, as well as the nature of the information concerned.”
As Claudia Jewett observes
‘Each of these losses creates another chance for misunderstanding, self blame, and feelings of not measuring up in some way. ….. because children are so often fully convinced that they have caused their own losses, they are understandably reluctant to discuss their failures with a helper If they have skipped over parts of their grief process, the discussion may awaken old pain and confusion as well.’ (p96)
‘No ones life is a mere collection of facts, any more than a person’s body is a mere collection of molecules. Thus in creating a life story book we are gathering everything that makes a human life – the facts, stories, anecdotes, memories, fiction, religious and cultural life, fantasy, expectation, loss and fulfilment, hope realised and hope dashed, family idiosyncrasies, the good and the bad.’ Rose and Philpot
‘Life story work involves taking children along their journeys step by step, not passing over events, facts and beliefs or making the assumption that a child has understood or accepted when that may not have been the case. At each step it is necessary to ensure that the child has first of all listened and then that she has understood.’ Rose and Philpot (p18)
“Through their life books our children have to come to own their story little by little, mainly because they have gone through them so often with other people and each time it comes clearer to them. Besides in retelling it, they think of new questions to ask and gain new realisations each time.”
SW quoted in Ryan & Walker, 1999
Jay Vaughan (2003) observes that ‘a coherent and authentic narrative, however stark, painful and unpleasant, is essential for resolution and mature reflection - life books when accurate, can provide a useful chronology on which to base therapy, with the aim of re-engaging the child with his past and putting it into words.’ Revisiting, repairing and resolving are part of this process.’
Lack of information > multiple impacts
sees Life Story Work as 'an opportunity to identify strong feelings about past events, to resolve issues, to correct misperceptions.'
It can help:
“Children want to belong to ordinary families. When parents’ problems lead them to behave in unpredictable or embarrassing ways children want to keep it secret.”
Cleaver et al, (1999)
p.72 Children’s Needs – Parenting Capacity
Rose and Philpot observe
‘No child is an island. In working with children on life story we also have to work with those adults whom they have known … people who have tried to help them, people who have harmed them. …. In doing this we are learning how to create a life story book that incorporates the whole of a child’s experience.’ (p23)