Credit hours:

Course Summary

For youth in care, placement in care often brings complicated feelings of shame, relief, or guilt. In order to effectively serve and provide for young people, we need to help them recognize their grief and meet them where they are in their grieving process. Gain knowledge and tools to help your child cope with feelings of grief and ambiguous loss through this course.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • About ambiguous loss and complicated grief
  • Unique challenges foster youth face through the grieving process
  • Understand how grief and trauma can manifest in a young person's behavior
  • Strategies a young person 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 the valuable introduction it provides about young peoples' grief in foster care:

Step 2

The effects of grief that children in foster care experience vary by the developmental age of the child. 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.

Step 3

Review the following article "Ambiguous Loss Haunts Foster and Adopted Children", to learn about the inevitable loss a young person experiences during their foster care experience (sometimes over and over again) 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 young person in foster care experiences 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?

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Course Discussion

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.'s picture

Leeannmikes@yah... said:

Ambiguous loss is hard. Not understanding your foster child cause a separation in being able to love the child. The child may act out with difficult behaviors. The behaviors may become a dividing wall. This dividing wall needs to be broken down but in a way respectful of the child and the losses they have been through.
rosebud27's picture

rosebud27 said:

Listen and give them time to grieve.
Michelle_Mclellan's picture

Michelle_Mclellan said:

i tell my girls try to understand that not being without your family is a tremendous loss but unfortunately you have to go through this pain but the good part is if you do your part you will be reunited again unlike death