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! 

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Course Discussion

bighamdaniel18's picture

bighamdaniel18 said:

Encouraging the child to express their emotions and get them into appropriate therapies.
hensonsc's picture

hensonsc said:

Loved this series, never thought of looking at it as grief like with death, but it is especially if ends in adoption. Child has memories of old life. Listen and give lots of love and support.
woodc22306's picture

woodc22306 said:

by listening and supporting the child.
Lisahays's picture

Lisahays said:

We can help the children in our care by allowing them to feel and giving them time to go through the grieving process
Erichays's picture

Erichays said:

We can help our children in our care by being patient and loving with their many mood swings.
pennbrjo's picture

pennbrjo said:

It is important to allow a child and family time to grieve, express their feelings on their time.
pennbrjo's picture

pennbrjo said:

It is important to allow a child and family time to grieve, express their feelings on their time.
ShaaleenAP's picture

ShaaleenAP said:

Let them feel, and be there for them
BMORSE's picture

BMORSE said:

I think it is important for children to start to verbalize emotion, even if they cannot immediately attach a reason to that emotion. If they can recognize the emotion then you can start to create a plan to help with it. Especially emotions brought on by the ambiguous loss.
rhiannon's picture

rhiannon said:

I would give them there time for grief and / or loss and respect the feelings they have for what they are going through. I would be there for them and understanding.