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

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.
LJR's picture

LJR said:

Be present, be compassionate, allow them to express grief, and listen in love. Also, provide additional help and support if needed.
mojojoseph6's picture

mojojoseph6 said:

be there for them and let them know that no feeling or emotion they have is wrong.
robin_a_willson's picture

robin_a_willson said:

I can help young people by encouraging an open discussion of their feelings and offering support for their grief process.