V. D-9. Child History Policy

Effective 7/30/07

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V. D-9. Child History Policy

Effective 7/30/07

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To provide each child that enters foster care a concrete record of his/her life including their medical, educational, social and family history, and a recording of the events of his/her life before h/she entered care and while h/she remain in care. One of the most important components of a history is to assist a child in knowing who h/she is and where h/she came from. A child deserves that his/her history and his/her story be both preserved and developed as h/she grows. A tool to effectively provide and maintain the child’s history is the Life Book. Development of his/her story and retention of family memorabilia in a Life Book may evoke difficult memories in a child and cause him/her to raise difficult questions.  This;  however, is critical to the development, healing,  and understanding for a child in foster care. Life Books should be factual, telling the truth in a developmentally, age appropriate way.



A Life Book is a record of a child’s life from birth. The Life Book uses words, photos, and the child’s artwork to chronicle, explain and identify the critical events in the child’s life.



22 MRSA §4008 2. D. Provides:  The Department may disclose relevant information in the record to a child named in a record who is reported to be abused or neglected or the child’s parent or custodian…with protection for identity of reporters and other persons when appropriate.



1.Each child that continues to be in foster care after a Jeopardy Order shall be entitled to a Life Book.
2.Using the Life Book can be an effective tool to help children make sense of what has happened and give them a chance to ask questions is a neutral, normalized, and child- specific manner.
3.Birth parents, foster parents, caseworkers, Guardians ad litem and any other relevant case members shall work together to begin to collect information on each individual child and compile it in an organized, accessible book, folder, or three ring binder.
4.Each office shall maintain a supply of binders or notebooks.
5.Family Team Meetings will be used as an avenue to discuss Life Books with biological family members and include them in the gathering of important information.
6.Family Team Meetings will be used as an avenue to determine the child’s ability to be involved in the creation of his/her Life Book and what type of support will be needed for the child, birth family members, and foster family during this process.
7.Family Team Meetings will be used as an avenue to collect family information for the child, including family photographs, genograms, ecograms, and family demographics.  While all of this information should be collected in the Life Book, it must also be copied for file and family demographic information. Relevant biographical, medical, educational, social information should also be entered in MACWIS.
8.Visitation with birth family or other family members can provide an opportunity for those parents, family members and children to create drawings, mementos, and stories to be a part of the Life Book. Family members can relate family stories that can be captured in writing, pictures or photographs.
9.Caseworkers will ensure that other relevant case participants (foster parents, guardian ad litems, therapists) have an opportunity to contribute to the Life Book.
10.It will be the caseworker’s responsibility to ensure Life Books follow the child during moves.
11.Caseworkers will keep copies of the contents of the Life Book in a secure place to prevent accidental loss or destruction of the Life Book.


A Life Book can be used to support and enhance a child’s self image, to dispel fantasies and myths, and to allow the child an avenue for self expression. The Life Book is not an end product but a living tool that helps the child deal with the significant losses and crisis.  It also allows a child to know there are both happy and sad parts to life and people who come in and out of everyone’s lives.





1.Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, Medical Information
3.School certificates, awards, art work, school  names, picture of school
4.Information about favorite things, hobbies, sports
5.Locks of hair, baby teeth
6.Information on placements-f.p names
7.Family Tree/Genogram
8.Pet information
9.Child’s writings
10.Holiday cards/letters
11.Friends names, ;phone # & address
12.Relatives names and addresses
13.Timeline and mapping of placements

1. Engaging

2. Listening

3. Honesty

4. Validation

5. Safety