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

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
adrienne1234's picture

adrienne1234 said:

this course help me understand how children deal with loss's picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

listen and give them space to greive's picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

by acknowledging and giving them time to grieve
pshow's picture

pshow said:

This course help me understand more about how the children deal with loss of their parents and home.
brett2634's picture

brett2634 said:

I think letting them know it is okay to grieve can be very freeing for them. Acknowledging that foster and adoption are not always happy occasions can help them feel comfortable expressing grief.
Eddie Vinson's picture

Eddie Vinson said:

This helped me understand that my now 4 year old that has been with us since birth along with his sister since 4 years old can still be affected by loss. I never would have thought! It has been suggested to make some sort of picture story book to tell a story of his and his sisters life so they can have an understanding of what they have and still have for family. Thanks for this training.