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

ssrieske's picture

ssrieske said:

in this journey as an adoptive mom... it's long and tiring but my child is worth it!
TrishWhite13's picture

TrishWhite13 said:

This was very insightful and helpful. Talk about their loss, be consistent, be present, and be patient with their grief journey.
mmdoran70's picture

mmdoran70 said:

There was alot of good info in this content. I know that we as foster parents tend to forget about the grief the childern go thru.
swashington12's picture

swashington12 said:

this was great knowledge of information, grief is hard for anyone in loss of any love, understandable for foster children feeling this way, thanks for tips on this subject.
Steph_Anne's picture

Steph_Anne (not verified) said:

I think it is always a good reminder that grief is a long process that comes and goes and looks different for everyone. I was surprised at the information about how small infants can experience grief.
Rachkempf's picture

Rachkempf said:

The term “ambiguous grief” was new to me, but it makes so much sense! Love the grief bill of rights as well. I could definitely have used this knowledge and language with past foster kids. Will keep it in mind for future ones.
kinicia's picture

kinicia said:

Good information
briancampbell7066's picture

briancampbell7066 said:

Listen to them and also show them that grief and loss is something experienced by all people.
csnewsom2020's picture

csnewsom2020 said:

Be a comfort to them, and let them know you understand
mtrickel's picture

mtrickel said:

Be supportive. Be understanding. Be there for them.