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

colecars's picture

colecars said:

Always being willing to listen and give space for them to have their feelings without taking it personally.
Faith2017's picture

Faith2017 said:

Helping through the different stages of loss. Loving them regardless of how they act and letting know that I am there to help them as much I can. Also, talking about strategies to deal with loss. Sharing my experiences.
Dycie_r's picture

Dycie_r said:

By being there for them and allowing them to grieve no matter how long it takes. We as parents and caregivers never want to let the child see us down or crying, but doing so will show that child how to grieve and that we are all human and we have feelings.
tmmhndrsn's picture

tmmhndrsn said:

By listening to them, let them grieve. The loss box is a great way to help them deal with the lose of home and family. Give comfort or space if needed be understanding
clbauman's picture

clbauman said:

While we are currently fostering young children, I can already see the grief and loss in their everyday actions as well as in my daughter's future as she is adopted as well. I think we can help by acknowledging their losses with them and talking through it on their level of understanding. Also, being patient and getting them recourses as quickly as possible to work through their grief is vital.
Mike Burks's picture

Mike Burks said:

By comforting them and understand that you don't know what they feel, but still know why they feel the way they do.
Mike Burks's picture

Mike Burks said:

By comforting them and understand that you don't know what they feel, but still know why they feel the way they do.
orlandomendoza's picture

orlandomendoza said:

When the child/children are ready to discuss things they have experienced, just be there to listen and support them. Do not pass judgement on them or their family members. Reassure the child that they are in a safe place.
durelwm's picture

durelwm said:

My wife and I have experienced a lot of what was discussed with some of our foster kiddos. Some have lost siblings and some have lost parents. This course if we had known about it would have helped greatly. It's never the same for every child but this course opened our eyes to things that we can do to help.
shelly_5501's picture

shelly_5501 said:

children suffering with grief and loss need love and compassion. They need to feel love and a part of their new surrounding in order to take some of the stress off their minds of being away form their family.