We've gathered here a series of useful tools to assist professionals with engaging with children and families, setting up families for stability and success, and so much more! We'll always be adding to this list so check back often!
The Roadmap to Family is a template. Feel free to use it as inspiration and adapt it for the needs of your families, children, and community.
The 1st section outlines a child’s needs, considerations, and services that must be coordinated in order to meet those needs.
The 2nd section is a straightforward go-to list of everyone who has been identified to support the youth and the caregiver.
The Ecomap was developed by Dr. Ann Hartman. It was designed as a visual diagram that shows how someone relates to others. The connections between the individual and their formal/informal connections can be positive or negative but is discussed in a strength-based approach.
The below connections tool is a quick reference, 2 pager that anyone working in the child welfare space will be able to easily reference while they are meeting with a young person. This tool includes primers for conversations, pointed questions to ask, and tips & tricks phrases or things to avoid.
What is a great way to visually link family connections? Genograms. This tool is used to explore someone’s family history in an artistic way. The genogram is similar to a family tree but obtains more information regarding relationships and connection. This family engagement tool can display three, four or as many generations as you would like along with their relationships to each other. Displayed on the genogram includes various identifying information such as names of relatives/kin, date of birth and date of death.
Pro tip: Genograming is an art and gets easier with practice. Try making a genogram for your own family first. It may help you think through what questions to ask, what information is interesting and what information may be missing.
A lifebook is a collection of a child's memories, important items and mementos, photos, drawings, journals, and anything else that is important to the child. A lifebook brings together a child’s past, present, and future. It's purpose is to document a child’s history, celebrate accomplishments, and allow his or her talents to shine. It is a record of a child’s life in his or her own words.
Lifebooks can be preserved in a binder, photo album, or scrapbook, but can also be collected digitally, as a box of trinkets or in many other creative ways. The possibilities are endless!
While it's best to start a lifebook when the child is first placed in foster care, it's never too late to start.
The lifebook belongs to the child. The child decides who can look at it. If the child moves, the lifebook goes with them.
Below are some helpful links that offer more information about lifebooks but also downloadable templates and tools to help get you started!
Life Mapping is a technique used to explore key life milestones. It is a wonderful opportunity to creatively share some of life’s successes, obstacles, talents or passions in sequential way. Artistic skills can shine when engaging with children. It is also a great way to find out what is important to them. Use paper, markers, crayons, pictures or any other medium to explore the lives of children.
Thanks to © 2021 Thoughtful Learning for this incredible example of a life map. We found it here: https://k12.thoughtfullearning.com/minilesson/drawing-life-map
Mobility mapping is used to explore the movement pattern of an individual or group. The goal of using this tool is to reawaken the child’s memory and generate a discussion between the child and worker. While exploring the map, it can reveal a child’s daily routines, important connections and geographical characteristics. One of the things it does is focus on positive memories instead of traumatic events such as being separated from family. The exercise is simple as it only requires paper, pencil and the worker’s engagement techniques.
A Permanency Pact is a pledge by a supportive adult to provide specific supports to a young person in foster care with a goal of establishing a lifelong, kin-like relationship. Youth transitioning from foster care are often unsure about who they can count on for ongoing support.
Huge thanks to FosterClub for developing this resource.
This tool was developed by the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition's Extreme Recruitment program, adopted from the works of Kay Donley Zeigler.
This tool is used to predict a youth's potential needs and behaviors to better equip a caregiver to meet those needs.
The WIT-Y is a guided self-assessment tool for youth ages 15-21 that encourages youth to explore their own sense of well-being across eight domains by asking them to rate each domain on a five-point continuum, ranging from “In Crisis” to “Doing Great.” Examples of varying levels of well-being are presented to facilitate this process. At the end of the tool, the youth will be given a graphic representation (called the Well-being Snapshot) of their well-being levels in each domain. The tool is intended to promote discussion between youth and their worker but could be used in a number of other ways.
Anu Family Services contracted with the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota to develop the Well-being Indicator Tool for Youth (WIT-Y).
The Youth Connections Scale (YCS) was developed in order to fill a need in child welfare: To evaluate and measure the increased efforts of agencies to improve the relational permanence of youth in foster care. The YCS was developed by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota in partnership with Anu Family Services.