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Illinois Foster Kids Learn to “Put the Pieces Together” in “Lifebooks”

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July 14, 2008

Chicago, IL – They'll put the pieces together with pictures, dates and names. Hundreds of foster children in Illinois soon will create "lifebooks" to help them keep track of who's who and work through why they aren't with their birth families now, or weren't in the past.

Ruth Jajko is the director of statewide adoption services for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSS). She says the books help create a living history for children dealing with a chaotic past.

"They're also at risk of losing artifacts from their lives, such as their first baby picture, or even having any baby pictures or report cards."

The books are a tool to answer children's questions about their birth families, helping them make sense of loss, trauma and change, Jajko explains.

"It's also a process where you're working with the young person and helping them process information about their story at the developmental level where they are."

Foster families and social workers are learning about "lifebooks" through a training DVD created by LSS.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IL