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

rdaniel's picture

rdaniel said:

I think being a soundboard figuratively speaking, this may go a long way in the healing process for a child suffering grief and loss.
DominiqueDeRose's picture

DominiqueDeRose said:

I can help by being compassionate to their process of grieving
tigpooh22's picture

tigpooh22 said:

I can be patient and meet the child where they are in their grieving process by listening and being there to provide emotional support and unconditional love.
fbyalb's picture

fbyalb said:

I think the key is to listen , have patience and understanding and allow CHn to grieve as they fel they need to. Encourage them to realize the situation was not their fault and to encourage them to use what hey have kearned to help themselves and that they can be role models for others.
PaulaKing's picture

PaulaKing said:

I can help by showing compassion and love. To be the example of what love should look like! Patience and understanding is important too.
monicatoejam's picture

monicatoejam said:

I help them by validating their feelings. I allow them to talk about, pray for or even write letters to their loved ones. I always let them know that they can talk to me about anything and NONE of this is their fault.
LauraScearce's picture

LauraScearce replied:

I like your ideas, especially to write letters to their loved ones. Even if they are never sent, they can be a means for the child to connect with those important to them. Also praying for- that could be key!
SamiNic0803's picture

SamiNic0803 said:

Give them time and patience. Also listen to them when they need someone to talk to!
davehair's picture

davehair said:

Support them and listen to their needs.
Ahnalona's picture

Ahnalona said:

They need to be given time to heal and open ears and hearts