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Feb 27, 2020

Helping children understand their story

Earlier this month in the Guardian, the vital role of “Life Story” Work was highlighted and championed in an article you can read here. Tim Taylor, Care for Children Group Training Manager, shares why Life Story work is so important to Care for Children’s model, how it can positively impact the lives of looked-after children, and how you could explore its benefits if you care for foster or adopted children.

 

What is “Life Story” work?
Every child or young person is unique with a “life story” belonging to them.
However, children and young people who are placed in foster-care care or adopted may have little understanding of why they don’t live with their birth parents, the reasons for them entering care, and events that took place in their early lives. This can have a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.
Conversely, ‘Life Story’ work can help children in care begin to understand and accept their personal history, helping to create a secure base to explore their past, present and future.
‘Life Story’ work at Care for Children
When a child moves from an institution to a foster family, their journey has often not been straightforward. At Care for Children, we place a high priority on training foster carers to develop a secure base for the children in their care. We incorporate ‘Life Story’ work into all of our training programmes in Thailand as one of the ways to do this. We train social workers, or family placement workers, to be able to develop life story books, which can be a complex and sensitive task. It’s important to capture a child’s journey, but the priority is always to protect the child, helping them to develop a more secure sense of their identity. Family Placement workers are then empowered to work with foster parents to help them maximise the impact of the work with their children. Across Thailand, this model is being used to help young children understand their history, developing a better sense of who they are and how their story might impact their future.
Throughout the training program, the sessions on “life- story” work are always among the most fruitful and eye-opening. It always gives us, and trainees, a real insight into how a vulnerable child’s journey is understood and treated, and enables us to make huge steps forward in our work.
We want children to flourish in their new families, so everything we can do to equip foster families to provide the best long-term care for children is at the heart of our work.
Feb 3, 2020

Ongoing Training in Hanoi

At the end of 2019, the latest training session took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. With 37 attendees from different areas across the city, representing various levels of government and social care professionals, the workshop represented another step towards empowering children’s workers to support children to move into families.

The ongoing training in 2019 is aimed helping social work professionals ideantify and prepare prospective foster carers, and consists of three components, namely Keeping Children Safe, What do Foster Carers do and Working as Part of the Team. These sessions are delivered to social work professionals, and help them begin to understand the challenges and opportunities that foster parents might face.

Remember, foster care is an almost brand new concept in Vietnam; the idea that vulnerable and orphaned children could be cared for and thrive in families is new, and almost all children without a family are currently looked after in orphanages or institutions.

The workshops are very practical, with various games and activities taking place for attendees to get involved in. As an example, participants played a game to help show how supporting a foster family needs a wide array of individuals and services to be involved, such as the social service centre, the foster family and the local government oversight. This helps show participants that the change needed is at a fundamental level to how they approach and understand child welfare.

Transforming this culture is a long-term goal. Our aim is to empower the government to take ownership of foster care across their whole country, to encourage the government, social workers and families that children belong in families, not institutions.

Thank you once again for you amazing support for our work in Vietnam. You are part of a pioneering project which will impact thousands of lives.

Feb 3, 2020

Lu Quan Village, Yunnan Province

Community Resource Centre, Lu Quan
Community Resource Centre, Lu Quan

Many of you will have seen our short film, ‘The Village’, telling the incredible story of Lu Quan in China; a village which has come together to transform the lives of hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children, many of whom are severely disabled.

In 2019 the incredible work of these villagers was given a boost by the completion of a Care for Children-funded building project aimed at enhancing local service provision. Nestled amongst the breathtaking green mountains of Yunnan Province sits the tiny village of Lu Quan, where something truly remarkable has happened.

In 2000, 700 children were living in the nearby Kunming Child Welfare Institution, with little hope of ever having a family of their own. Shockingly, 93% of these children had some form of disability. When Care for Children introduced our family placement model to the Kunming orphanage, Lu Quan’s remarkable Village Elder was inspired to get involved.

Under his leadership, by 2015, 53 families in the village were fostering over 160 children, many of whom suffer from severe disabilities and need constant care and attention. The total population of the village was just 370. The incredible sacrifice and love displayed by these people is the perfect example of why children need to grow up in families, not institutions. The children in these families receive the unique care, attention and consistency that loving parents can provide.

 The completion of the community resource centre in 2019 marks the final part of the transition from institutional care to family-based care in the community for vulnerable children.

You can read more about the return to Luquan in our 2020 Annual Report, available on our website.

Opening Ceremony Celebration
Opening Ceremony Celebration
A Foster Family in Lu Quan
A Foster Family in Lu Quan
 
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