Life Books

A Life Book chronicles a child’s life in care and connects that part of his or her life to the rest of the child’s history and family traditions. This critical tool helps the child understand his or her stay in out-of-home care and provides a record of important events and documents. Many significant people may come and go throughout the child’s life and acknowledging these individuals and memories through the process of creating a life book affords the child the opportunity to explore and understand the past.

Imagine not knowing even basic pieces of information about your own history. What if we didn’t know much about our own parents? What if we were not sure how or why we came to live in the home we are in? What if we had been in more schools than we could remember? What if we had no pictures of ourselves or of family members taken before we were in high school? Sadly, many adults who grew up in out-of-home care cannot answer these questions.

When creating a life book, you are limited only by your imagination. DHS has a format for life books available to all resource parents, and scrap-booking supplies can be found at any number of retail stores. Here are some suggestions for topics to include in a typical life book:

  • Introduction (i.e., the purpose of the book)
  • Pictures and names of child welfare specialists who were important in the child’s life
  • Birth announcement
  • Important documents (i.e., birth certificate, Social Security card, etc.)
  • Journal entries
  • School pictures, records and awards
  • Cultural and religious information
  • Pictures and mementos of favorite friends
  • Pictures and notes about pets
  • Baby pictures
  • Birth family pictures
  • Explanation of how the child came to be in out-of- home care
  • Pictures and notes about trips, vacations and special events
  • Pictures of resource families and written information about where they have lived and when the child was there

Continue to When a Child Leaves