Credit hours:
2.50

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

Burtonfam2's picture

Burtonfam2 said:

We need to be aware that loss and grief are normal experiences of children in foster care. We can not stop those feelings but can help them walk through the grieving process.
Burtonfam's picture

Burtonfam said:

I can help young people suffering from grief and loss by encouraging them to talk about their loss.
chris.simpson08's picture

chris.simpson08 said:

I can help by being supportive to them and being there for them mentally and emotionally and helping guide them through the 5 stages of grief.
Deetripp's picture

Deetripp said:

This is a topic that is skipped so often. Thankyou for putting it out there! I will do my part to listen and be educated before any sort of action or communication for my kiddos or others.
fabiennem's picture

fabiennem said:

For Step 5, the video does NOT work
George Jackson's picture

George Jackson said:

Also the video in step 5 does not work
George Jackson's picture

George Jackson said:

So basically a child in the foster care system can constantly experience grief of loss throughout their lifetime. A child lashes out because something has taken place
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.