Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Life Books

I know that I've read some posts recently (in the last four or so months, probably) about life books, but don't remember on whose blogs. Sorry for not referring back to you; I would if I could keep these things straight in my mind. (Actually, I might have posted myself about them. Who knows.)

Anyway, in my blog reader this evening I learned that My Agency is soliciting donations of scrapbooking supplies to help kids in care make life books. Great. I think that life books are a fabulous idea. I have a few concerns about making a huge deal about how "KIDS IN CARE SHOULD HAVE LIFE BOOKS!! WE'RE WONDERFUL FOR THINKING ABOUT THIS!!" Sure, a life book has more--or different--things in it than your typical kid's scrapbook is likely to have. But does it have to have its own special name?

Rant #1 over. This post is supposed to be about rant #2, starting now:

Why does My Agency have to have this special initiative, instead of, oh, dedicating a few resources to helping foster parents understand the importance of life books? What are they going to do, mandate that kids come in to the Agency to work on their life books with their social worker? It's not like they're going to distribute the scrapbooking materials that they receive to the homes where kids are living. And really, how expensive are the materials anyway? My jurisdiction is one of the best in terms of reimbursement rates, so I'd think that a few pairs of scissors, some glue, and fancy paper wouldn't break the bank.

Wow, I'm cynical tonight. Maybe I just feel affronted because I knew from the start that I would want to make scrapbooks or memory books for/with the kiddos in my home and didn't need the lesson on life books during our training to tell me that they are a good idea.

Okay, rant #2 over. Feel free to tell me in the comments about how your agencies don't do anything to support life books, so this initiative would be welcome where you are, or how foster parents need the extra prodding or assistance to make sure that kids have life books, or how there is a fundamental difference between life books and scrapbooks and how dare I minimize the importance of life books.


  1. I promise not to rant back at you... even if my current job is focused solely on lifebooks.. ;)

    The one thing I will say is that you are the exception - not the rule. I've been at this job for 3 months and it is like PULLING TEETH to get people on board with doing a lifebook. And that is with the entire thing - book, pages, markers, etc all ready to go, all they have to do is fill in the blanks and put some pictures in it! Out of nearly 400 children that my office serves - 60 of them have lifebooks. That is a whole lot of children who have no information about their pasts and nothing to take with them into their futures.

  2. Ah, I *knew* I'd read something about lifebooks recently!

    I think that what was missing from this post was rant #3: why am I the exception?

    It's the same thing with school; I suspect that I will be the exception in not insisting that a school-aged child who lives with me go to my neighborhood school. This is a post in itself... hmmm, an idea for procrastination...

  3. Please feel free to have that rant about why you are the exception! I have been meaning to have it for a while - but can't quite figure out how to have it... or maybe I'm just to exhausted to have it right now.

    But please, have it on my behalf!