A storybook approach to supporting children in care

Runtime 00:32:08
Released 16/10/23
Emerging Minds Podcast
Emerging Minds Podcast
A storybook approach to supporting children in care

Many children who are in foster care may not know, or understand, why they are living away from home. It is often a conversation that isn’t had with children when they are removed from their biological family and placed into care. This can lead children to make up their own meanings, which may be far from the truth of their situation and more detrimental to their mental health and wellbeing.

However, these are not easy conversations to have. The children’s storybook ‘One of a Kind’ has been created for children who are in foster or kinship care due to their parent (or parents) experiencing mental illness, to help them understand their circumstances. It explores the experiences and emotions of Darcy, who lives with her grandmother, and Oliver, who is living with foster carer Jack and his family. The book includes important messages for both adults and children about the experience of being in out-of-home care and how to talk safely and supportively about the experience.

In this episode, Nicole Rollbusch talks to Natalie Papps, Alice Morgan and Sally Groom, creators of ‘One of a Kind’. Natalie and Alice work as Families Where a Parent has a Mental Illness (FaPMI) Coordinators with Monash and Alfred Health respectively, while Sally is the Team Leader of Carer Assessment and Intake with OzChild for the Southern Metro and Gippsland area in Victoria.  Natalie, Alice and Sally discuss the process of creating ‘One of a Kind’ and collaborating with services as well as parents and young people with lived experience of parental mental illness and out-of-home care. They highlight some of the challenges children in care face, including being unaware of why they are in care, and how the storybook supports practitioners and carers to open up these essential conversations.

In this episode you will learn:

  • the process of creating a therapeutic storybook [05:46]
  • gaps in current resources for children in out-of-home care [11:15]
  • the impact of children being unaware why they are in care [12:41]
  • the benefits of therapeutic stories for children [16:55]
  • how practitioners and carers can confidently have conversations with children about why they are in care [24:41]
  • where to access the storybook ‘One of a Kind’ [29:09]

Further information and resources:

To access the e-book version of ‘One of a Kind’ visit Alfred Health or Monash Health.

Visit the OzChild website for more information on the organisation and their programs.

Additional resources:

Engaging with parents who have children in out-of-home care: Key considerations (paper)

Looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children in out of home care (Families podcast)

Out of home care: Talking about mental illness with children in your care (Families fact sheet)

Shining a light on good practice in NSW: Stories from child protection and out of home care (report)

Youth in out of home care toolbox: Information for carers and workers (toolkit)

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