For many looked after children, the stories that they need to understand are complex and painful: stories of violence, loss, illness, death, drugs and sexual abuse. These children need the adults around them to have had training and support in tackling these difficult issues. Life Story Work is a way to help children to make sense of their past and understand the journey of their identity.
Life story work includes emotional safety and strengthening support networks – helping the children consider how they can access people or things that make them feel safe when they need to and helping them manage difficult feelings. The objective of life story work is to create a secure base for the looked-after child to explore their past, present and to move them into future.
Children’s social workers have a responsibility to complete life story work but the foster carers can also support in this area. One of the important factor in life story work is to do the child’s chronology i.e. life journey. Foster carers can keep the children’s photos on significant occasions such as anniversaries and festivals; their school and bedroom; any achievements and certificates; their favourite food and activities/sports they enjoy and to explore their needs, feelings and wishes.