Life work is the general term and one that incorporates many different elements, including life journey work and life story books. All of these layers are important and indirect life work is as valuable as direct. Start by gathering information and gleaming some sense of the child's inner world and level of understanding, through observation, listening and with communication through play. Take time to engage the child, before considering any direct life work.
Some aspects of life work should begin as soon as the child becomes ‘looked after’. It is an integral part of the social work task and not an ‘add on’ or something that is only done when a child moves onto a permanent placement.
Life work is about helping children to know their personal stories and to understand the life experiences that have shaped them. This needs a comprehensive, integrated and collaborative approach. Birth parents, social workers, contact supervisors, foster carers and adoptive parents should all contribute, as advocated in ‘Life Work With Children Who Are Fostered Or Adopted. Using Diverse Techniques in a Coordinated Approach’.