• June 2008
  • Vol. 9, No. 5

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Digital Biographies of Foster Youth

Foster youth who spend extended periods of time in multiple out-of-home placements often have incomplete records of their own childhood and developmental milestones. While foster care lifebooks have been used to help some youth document their own history, the hard copy format is subject to loss and damage. For this reason, some social welfare agencies have begun to work with youth to create digital biographies where youth can record their lives.

A recent article by Nora Gustavsson and Ann MacEachron outlines the low cost and other benefits of a dual digital program. The first component is an agency-generated electronic record, which contains basic information, a brief narrative, digital photos, and other positive notations. A youth-generated electronic journal is the second component. Available through a free email account, this journal, or Internet diary, makes it possible for youth to record their memories, milestones, and thoughts.

This digital program can help ameliorate the threat of identity drift when foster youth experience multiple living arrangements with different caregivers in different areas. It serves as a means of maintaining their personal histories, which may help the youth preserve a positive sense of self over time.

"Creating Foster Care Youth Biographies: A Role for the Internet" was published in the Journal of Technology in Human Services (Volume 26, No. 1) and is available from Haworth Press:


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