Ours is written by the social worker to our DS. At our LAC review it was praised by the IRO but it’s actually pretty poor - there are inaccuracies and the language switches between being child friendly to that of a formal report. We’ll probably re-write it ourselves to make it read better/more age appropriate.
Ours was written from SW to DS. DH and I both read it, so we know what is in there (there's a few speculative things we weren't sure would be included, and they are not, so we know not to share these with DS) and have now sealed it for DS to open once he is older.
Ours is from SW and is so bad it's unusable. DD is young enough for us not to have to worry about it just now but I find myself thinking a lot about what I'm going to do later - I might just try to re-write it to make it half way decent (and to take off the picture of Mr Tumble. SW didn't quite get the memo about what later life means).
Our life story book is also rubbish - there are parts of it which are just photocopies of Wikipedia pages about birth mum’s home town. There is more information about the steel industry than there is about the birth family!
We have one from each of the children's SW's (one pre-removal and one post). They're okay but noticed a couple of mistakes from where they've copied & pasted to younger DC's and there's a part in oldest DD's which is definitely speculation so may rewrite it removing that part.
I would love to know what my Niece will be told in her letter 'when she is old enough' Knowing the facts from first hand experience of the events compared to the warped SW version she will be told. Probably the reason the adopter refused to meet her parents, advised by SW. Doubt we will ever find out.
I have sent it back our story book asking for amendments and more photos included. There isn't one of their birth Mum, just a description about her. That to me is awful! They won't have a clue what she looks like. When we met her in the beginning we did have a photo taken with her and even that isn't in their story book.
The Later life letter is aimed for an adult but I've asked for one of a more child friendly version. Failing that we could do our own. There is also some things in it that even we didn't know about. X
The official later life letter is written by the sw. If I have had the case a while it's very easy to write in terms of information but also a really emotional experience. I have gone from cin to cp to removal to placement order with some of my children. I try and write about my own memories of that child as well as their circumstances. I encourage parents to make a contribution to the life story work. Sometimes they write a brilliant and honest letter. Sometimes they send something I don't think is appropriate.
There are little excuses for no photos of parents though one parent came off Facebook and didn't attend contact so I hit a dead end there.
Some local authorities outsource life story books so the overworked sw isn't doing them. This is much better for all concerned.
Most adopters go through the life story books and request amendments - I'm glad they do
I re-wrote our two later life letters (1 for early teen stage, 1 for adult) because my own SW agreed they were awful and presented in a distressing way - evidently they need to be the whole truth, but there's no need for brutal about how you do it. I then sent both new versions back to the child's SW who'd done the first drafts, and asked her to consider the changes then re-issue them. I felt it was important the letters came from the SW not from me, as my child may need to know they're objective not just my opinion. There's not been any contact from birth family as yet, but we write at all the agreed times to keep the door open.
I hear the PP about the "home town Wikipedia" page pasted in to the life story book - ours was that level too. Sigh. I re-did it after asking the SW for a year after the AO just to get the crappy version. Someone new has taken over now though and is doing an updated version for my child's current age, so I am cautiously hopeful...