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Life Books

A Life Book is a child's life story and the best gift you can give the child in your care. It contains photos, artwork, memorabilia, stories and more.

It helps a child:

  • understand his/her past

  • feel good about themselves

  • prepare for the future

When to begin:

A Life Book should be started as soon as a child joins a foster family. If a child has been in care for a while and a book hasn’t been started yet - start NOW!

Who contributes?

  • Birth Parents or extended family members

  • Foster Parents past and present

  • The Child

  • Social Worker

  • Anyone who knows the child well

What goes in the book?


  • Birth Information and information about child’s birth family

  • Schools attended

  • Medical Information

  • Social Workers – names and their role

  • Information about every family they’ve lived with


  • Letters, Awards, Achievements, Report Cards

  • Anything they have received from birth parents – cards, notes, gift tags, photos of gift


  • of child at every age

  • of everyone involved with the child, including pets

  • Comments by the child regarding the pictures – include how child feels about the person or event, dates, etc.Anything that’s important to the child

Getting Started:

Life Books can be very simple or a scrap booking masterpiece. The content is far more important than the style.

Life Book models are available. Ask your Foster Parent Coordinator for some examples or there are Life Books available online.

You can find printable Life Books at Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association,

You can purchase a Life Book from

If a child is preparing for adoption the Adoption Social Worker may provide a Life Book for the child

Make it special:

  • Let the child choose the album, scrapbook, or binder

  • Visit a scrap-booking supplies store. Let the child choose stickers etc.Lots of photos! If you don’t have a photo of a person or item, have the child draw a picture

  • Label all photos and date each page

  • Listen to what the child wants to put into their book

  • Give creative teens the tools to design their own books - perhaps a “For When I am Famous” book

  • There are several “about me” type books available in book stores, especially for teen girls.Give a teen a camera or video camera and have them record their life

  • Interview your teen: use a voice recorder; a video camera; or take notes and write a “magazine” article

What about the bulky stuff?

  • Use a photo box, decorate a shoe box, or build a “treasure chest”.Large folios are available for those big art projects

  • Photograph large items or scan them and put the image in the life book

  • Make a felt banner for pins, ribbons and badges

  • Cut a small sample from old shirts, gift wrap etc and include

More options:

  • You can make scrapbook pages on-line

  • Make copies of the Life Book. Color photocopies work very well, or scan each page and save on disk.Laminate copies for young children

  • Give the Social Worker a copy for the child’s file.

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