Child Protection stories don’t sound like a lot of fun. But, always optimistic, I expect my newest venture, work with the Family Integration Network, WA, to be satisfying and enjoyable. That’s not just for me, but also for the participants in a group who want to write stories about how involvement with the Department of Child Protection affects their lives.
Writing our life-stories can be both therapeutic and creative. In either case, there can be many benefits. There’s more information about the benefits of writing our stories here.
About the Family Inclusion Network of WA (Inc.)
Fin WA describes its role as follows:
The Family Inclusion Network of Western Australia Inc. (Fin WA Inc.) provides advocacy and support services to parents and family members who have had their children placed in ‘out of home care’ i.e. foster care or relative care. Families who seek our assistance are involved with statutory workers from the department of Child Protection & Family Support. Parents who are at risk of having their children placed in care, grandparents and other affected family members can also access the service.
My task with Child Protection stories
For the rest of this year, I will work with members of families at the Fin WA offices. Here’s how I expect to spend my time.
- Talking about writing and teaching writing skills in small groups.
- Encouraging and helping participants to write their stories.
- Gathering and writing other material. We anticipate that some participants may not have the confidence or skills to write their stories. They might like me to write for them, writing on their behalf and with their guidance.
- Editing stories and other material.
- I also hope to assist assist with the publication and promotion of a collection of stories.
To honour and respect other people’s struggles
The older I become, the more important it seems that I should educate and familiarise myself with the difficult lives many people live. To write and publish this collection of stories will be one way to honour respect the struggles of this group of mothers and their families. As well it may educate professionals and others about current practices affect this group.
Stories by participants will make up the bulk of the collection. We also expect to add some background information.
Why am I doing this?
Here are a few reasons.
- Being in the right place at the right time always helps. Friends were talking about the project and my name was suggested.
- I think I said ‘Yes!’ because I like a challenge. As if there haven’t been enough challenges in my life over the past twelve months!
- A career in the helping professions (nurse, midwife, counsellor, group worker, advocate, project manager and writer) seems to point me in this direction. If not me, then who?
- Previous experience with a similar project when I worked with the Spirit of the Streets Choir seems important. You can read my blog about my last career change when I worked with the Spirit of the Streets Choi r to produce their book of stories. Then I had to sing at choir practice. Every. Single. Week. With my voice! The book is available from Stones Publishing.
I expect I’ll write more about this project during the year. I’d be really happy to answer any questions you might have about the work or anything else involved.