Credit hours:

Course Summary

Placement in care often brings complicated feelings of shame, relief, or guilt for children and youth. In order to effectively serve and provide for their needs, we need to help children and youth recognize their grief and meet them where they are in their grieving process. Through this module, you will gain knowledge and tools to help children and youth cope with feelings of grief and ambiguous loss.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Information about ambiguous loss and complicated grief
  • Unique challenges children and youth in care may face through the grieving process
  • The ways grief and trauma can manifest in a child or youth's behaviors
  • Strategies children and youth can use to cope with ambiguous loss and/or grief

Step 1

Watch the following video "Best Practices for Grief: Foster Care Placement." This video is a part of a series examining grief and loss experiences of children and teens, and was selected because of its valuable introduction to the grief children and youth may experience due to being part of the foster care system. 

Step 2

The effects of grief that children and youth in foster care experience vary based on their developmental age. Review the following article published by Fostering Perspectives, "The Effects of Grief and Loss on Children in Foster Care" to learn what grief signs to be aware of for all children and youth.

Step 3

Review the following article "Ambiguous Loss Haunts Foster and Adopted Children" to learn about the inevitable loss a child or youth experiences during their foster care (sometimes repeatedly) and how incredibly difficult this type of grief is to process.

Step 4

Gregory Manning discusses the difference between a traditional and non-traditional loss and how the profound loss and trauma a child or young person in foster care may experience manifests and impacts their behaviors in the following video "Grief and Loss for Youth in Foster Care & Adoption."

Step 5

Watch Matthew's video which reflects the trauma, grief, and loss he dealt with throughout his foster care experience. 

Step 6

Review "What Young People Can Do: Healing From Loss," a simple form to help guide and validate a young person healing from loss.

Step 7

Share the "Bill of Rights for Grieving Youth in Foster Care" tool with your child. These rights reflect the values, dreams, and aspirations of current and former foster youth suffering from tremendous loss and can be helpful to a grieving young person and/or a young person who has not yet begun the grieving process.

Step 8

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How can you help young people in your care suffering from grief and loss?

Step 9

Finished the module? If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate! 

Subscribe now!

Just $24.95 for 1 year subscription per parent (unlimited access to courses for one year).

Subscribe Now

Log in to your account

Already subscribed? Log in to your FosterClub account now to take a course!

Log in

Course Discussion

carla miller's picture

carla miller said:

I now have a better understanding of the loss a foster child feels about their birth parent/parents and family.
Laberge301's picture

Laberge301 said:

We can be there for them, listen to them, show them that they are loved and cared for and help them grieve.
Demkeys's picture

Demkeys said:

We must allow our children to grieve so they won't bottle it up and allow it to turn to anger. It's our job to listen and do our best to guide our children to be great adults
ourbaileylife's picture

ourbaileylife said:

We can listen to the children and allow them to grieve.
carla miller's picture

carla miller replied:

I agree with you, my foster son is 4 years old and we talk about his Mom and his feelings about not seeing her. His behavior has improved because of these talks.'s picture

[email protected] said:

Listen to them when they want to talk about it and help them find healthy outlets to deal with grief.
ejiswel's picture

ejiswel said:

Be that listening ear.
ejiswel's picture

ejiswel said:

Be that listening ear.
tadisney's picture

tadisney said:

Acknowledge their feelings and let them be them.
loopy's picture

loopy said:

we reasure the children in our care that we with help them love them will help guide them through grief let them talk freely cry or just screem we do not judge thyem or the parents