Minnesota counties and organizations can work with Power of Story, a rule 4 licensed agency, to offer a specialized model for the creation of Social Medical Histories and Lifebooks with the young people and families they work with.

Research shows the importance of life history work, and while not therapy, this work is healing and therapeutic as it helps youth understand their history.

In fact, Darla L Henry, The 3–5–7 Model: Preparing children for Permanency, states that one of the main keys to a clear sense of identity and sense of security is “knowledge and awareness about personal history, heritage and genealogy,” which a life history work can help provide.

Counties + Organization FAQs

Do you have information to share with young people?

Yes, here are the flyers that can be shared with young people directly, Youth Flyer (Lifebook) and Youth Flyer (SMH).

How do we send a referral?

After a worker has spoken with their supervisor, they can complete the online referral. Once it is submitted, the referring worker will get an email confirmation and can schedule a referral meeting to meet with their Story Specialist.

Is training available?

Yes, you can bring the Power of Story to your parents, child protection, GALs, lawyers, permanency and adoption staff.  We continually find that when they fully understand the power of what they know, they become sensational partners in this work.

What are the qualifications of those who will complete Lifebooks and Social Medical Histories?

All our Story Specialists have completed a background check, a minimum of a two-year degree, prior experience in the world of adoption, foster care, trauma therapy and/or narrative therapy and are committed to continued growth and excellence.  They also have reviewed current research in the areas of life history and related fields and have received specialized training in completing life history work with young people.

Is Power of Story able to do this work across Minnesota?

Yes, we are licensed by the MN DHS as a Child Caring-Placing Agency License # 1112248, are a MN Nonprofit, EIN 87-3175299 and are a 501c3 organization.

What if I only want to refer a few children or young people?

That is totally fine! We would welcome the chance to work with them.

What happens at a referral meeting?

During this meeting, the referring worker will get an introduction to your Story Specialist and a summary of our model and processes. They will also share contact information for birth family members, current and past placements, documents, and information needed to complete Lifebook and/or Social Medical History. They will also sign any releases of information needed.

How will Power of Story involve the worker?

After the Lifebook or Social Medical History is completed, it will be shared with the referring worker electronically before meeting with the youth a second time, for any edits, additions, or changes. At that time, the Story Specialist will also discuss how to get it to the young person, based on the youth’s desires and the specific situation/concerns/etc.

Can we decide what to share or not share with the youth?

Yes, we will respect the wishes of the referring worker, however, as huge believers in the healing power of information, we will advocate for a full Tough Stuff Plan to be put in place to share all information if it is felt that ALL shouldn’t be shared at this time.

How will Power of Story involve the youth?

We meet twice with each youth over 6 years of age. Hopefully in person, but virtual meetings are an option also.

During the first meeting, the Story Specialist will show them a sample Lifebook and/or Social Medical History, answer questions about the process, and share that they will meet with them once more after the book/document is done.  The Story Specialist will then ask them what they are curious about, have questions about, things they don’t want to know more about right now, and what their current understanding of their life history is.

During the second meeting, the Story Specialist will share much of what was found, but most like there will be some questions that can’t be answered, and some things that need to be talked about with someone else (their worker, a therapist, etc.).  

What are your key messages to youth?

  • The past influences the future, but if we know all our history, the good and the bad, we can heal.
  • ALL of a person’s history is important and worth exploring.
  • It is OK for young people to love and be loved by more than one family.
  • It is normal to have mixed feelings and questions about the past and future.
  • No one’s story is ALL trauma.
  • There is always hope for a happy ending (the story is not over yet).

Does my county need a separate contract before we can send referrals?

No, you would not. We can work with youth across the state of Minnesota, without more contracts or MOUs, because we have signed a host/lead county contract and Rule 4 licensure. Our work together, services expectations, and rates would be set by the host/lead county contract. However, your county or organization may need to do an internal process for the purchase of services.

Can I see the host/lead county contract and 2022-2023 rates?

Yes, a rate sheet and copy of the host/lead county contract are available upon request.  Rate are a flat rate, per referred service. 

Can I see examples of your Lifebooks and Social Medical Histories?

Yes, you can view the following videos or contact us to see one in person or ask more questions.

Lifebook example coming soon.

Example Social Medical History – based on the form used in Minnesota