University of Sydney: Storybooks for children supported by authors with lived experience | India Education | Latest Education News | World Education News
Two young people with lived experience have written storybooks to help ease the trauma of children currently in care, as part of a project undertaken by the University’s Child and Family Research Center from Sydney.
Fostering Lifelong Connections is an action research project undertaken by the Research Center for Children and Families (RCCF) that focuses on the practices of social workers to promote positive relationships between caregivers of children and families when they are permanently supported. It is essential to understand the perspectives and needs of these children and how to help them feel safe in their relationships after experiencing trauma.
“Children in care outside the home rely on social workers and caregivers to maintain their relationships with family members, so they can maintain their connections to their cultures and the important people in their lives. . said Professor Amy Conley Wright, the project’s principal chief researcher.
These relationship dynamics can be complex, and this project has developed strategies for social workers to strengthen these relationships. An important part of the project has been to develop resources for children, families and professionals.
Professor Amy Conley Wright
Given their lived experience, Billy Black and Bobby Hendry are engaged as co-researchers by the RCCF as “experienced experts”. Billy Black is an artist who grew up in an institution. Since leaving the system, he has been involved in research programs, training caregivers and social workers, and representing children’s voices on a caregiver authorization panel. Bobby Hendry is a graphic designer and photographer with lived experience in the out-of-home care system, who is passionate about using her creative skills and story to inspire progress and change in out-of-home care.
As part of this action research project, Billy Black wrote and illustrated Roar, and Bobby Hendry developed a guide, My Family Time is Mine. These essential books fill a gap in child-related resources and speak from the experience of children in care.
Roar is an illustrated storybook for young children in out-of-home care that explores the complicated feelings that arise in children during contact visits with family members. He uses animals to tell the story – a lion cub who has great emotions when spending time with his father is guided by a gorilla (nurturer) and a bear (social worker) to help understand those emotions and find ways to regulate and enjoy their time. have together.
Billy Black said: “Part of my inspiration for this story is a great shortage of resources to support young children in care. I know one of the hardest hurdles to overcome is learning to deal with stressful situations where you have no power. Roar teaches children that it’s okay to have big feelings and big reactions to big feelings.
My Family Time is Mine is a guide full of practical advice for young people in out-of-home care that explores their rights to be heard on important issues, including time spent with their family. Bobby Hendry developed this guide with a seasoned understanding of a child’s emotions and how trauma affects the brain, and how they can learn to take charge of their reactions.
Bobby Hendry said: “I created My Family Time is Mine using my own out-of-home care experience to give young people caring experience knowledge about their feelings, how to communicate, their rights and more. I hope this book helps young people in care feel a little less alone and a lot more in control in a childhood that I know very well can feel lonely and helpless.
Fostering Lifelong Connections is in its third and final year and involves action research with social workers from seven NGOs and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. Billy and Bobby will be presenting on working with traumatized children at the International Childhood Trauma Conference, hosted by the Australian Childhood Foundation, on August 3, 2022.