Training materials: Children

The New Life Work Model: Practice Guide
Edith A Nicholls, Russell House Publishing
ISBN 1903855810,

My Memory Book: Keeping My Memories Safe 4+
Edith A Nicholls, Russell House Publishing
ISBN: 1903855799

As a foster carer of 20 years’ experience and an adopter of three young people, I wish these books had been available to help us create life memories for both my temporary and permanent families, writes Merle Fletcher.

These books are companions and are a breath of fresh air and a must for everyone involved in promoting looked-after children’s well-being.

Busy professionals and carers will find The New life Work Model easy to read. “Creating family history books” is an excellent chapter to help temporary carers work through difficult questions as is the chapter for adopters to help tell their children’s stories.

An explanation of the need for life work and how the model fits easily in to the care planning process emphasises that the focus is to “deal with the wishes and feelings of the child”.

The best piece of advice comes in the section for adopters: “In the telling process, listening to what your child is asking is as important as what you are telling them”.

My Memory Book: Keeping My Memories Safe 4+ is the ideal workbook for busy professionals and carers and should be quite accessible to young people too.

Its purpose (as that of the other two books in the series for children aged zero to four and eight plus) is to record the child’s experiences while away from the birth family so that the child does not lose this period of their lives.

There are 10 sections ranging from information on the child, their family, why they are being looked after, to school, friends and birthdays and helpfully a section at the end where other things can be recorded that do not fit in anywhere else!

The author says “Memory books belong to the child and should not be treated as ‘precious’, even if it is destroyed”.

Every looked-after child should have one and every professional and carer should enjoy completing them.

Both books are a joy.

Merle Fletcher is a foster and adoptive carer and freelance practice assessor

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