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Caring for Children
Owned and managed by Department of Communities & Justice

Getting started

Carers provide a secure and nurturing environment for children and young people who are not able to live safely at home with their families and can be a strong and positive influence on the kids in their care. It’s important to remember that some kids may take time to adjust to living with a new family in a new environment.

Why keeping a diary is a good idea

Keeping a diary or other written notes from the start of a placement saves you having to rely on memory. Examples of events and activities to record include:

  • achievements, milestones, happy events, celebrations and friends
  • hobbies and interests
  • things about the child or young person that make them special such as their smile, sense of humour, talents or general nature
  • accidents and injuries, including how they happened and treatment they received
  • major and minor illnesses and visits to the doctor
  • child or young person’s reactions to various situations, such as contact with family, members of your household, daily routines, school and pets
  • damage to property or belongings
  • incidents, including what happened in the child or young person’s own words.

These records need to be as clear, accurate and fair as you can make them because they may be used to:

  • help the child or young person with their Life Story work
  • guide your discussions with your caseworker
  • help inform case meetings, reviews or any other further actions
  • keep the child or young person’s official file up to date
  • assist with health assessments
  • provide reliable information to the courts if required
  • help a young person who has left care understand their experiences and recognise their achievements if they choose to access their file in the future.

Looking over a diary can help you remember the highs of caring and how you dealt with the lows. It can also help you identify what worked, what didn’t work and any area you may wish to develop through training.