• Child & Youth Engagement

Credit Hours: 



The necessary removal of children from their caregiver(s) to whom they are attached, can have both positive and negative aspects. From a child protection perspective, separation has several benefits, the most obvious being the immediate safety of the child. Separating a parent and child can also have profoundly negative effects. Even when it is necessary, research indicates that removing children from their homes interferes with their development. The more traumatic the separation, the more likely there will be significant negative developmental consequences. It is imperative that foster parents and other child welfare stakeholders be informed about how separation and loss impacts the children they care for and how to help minimize the impact.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • what separation and loss may look like for a child when losing their caregiver, siblings or other close relatives
  • challenges children may face when suffering from a traumatic separation, both in general and developmentally
  • how an adult supporter may be able to help a child experiencing separation and loss
  • strategies and tools available to assist and help a young person develop coping skills

Special Note from FosterClub
Hello FosterClub Foster Parents:

We hope that you find our excerpts from our Foster Cub Coloring Book and Quick Start Guide useful. We encourage you to connect the young people you work with or are in your care to the FosterClub community to help navigate through their foster care experience. Please click here if you would like to order this publication.

Thank you for being a foster parent!

Take the Course:

Estimated time to complete: 1.5 hours

A:  Review the following article, "Children with Traumatic Separation: Information for Professionals," by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, which provides information and guidance to young people who experience traumatic separation from a caregiver, siblings or other close relatives:  CLICK HERE
B:  Review the following article, "Effects of Separation and Loss on Children's Development" by Susan Hois, to gain insight on the psychological impact of losing parents due to divorce, incarceration, death and/or removal to foster care at various stages of development:  CLICK HERE
C:  Review the excerpt, "My Stuff," from FosterClub's Quick Start Guide, for teens entering foster care. Often, what is unknown is the scariest part of foster care. Providing young people with a method of control helps eliminate unknown factors and make them feel more comfortable in their current situation:  Click on the image below to enlarge it.
D:  Review the information provided in “Keeping Connected to Siblings,” excerpted from FosterClub’s Quick Start Guide, which outlines important things for a young person to consider when thinking about bio-family connections. Relationships with family can be tough for any teen. But when foster care is involved, things can get even more complicated; this effects the impact of the separation from loved ones. Helping a young person understand the details and their rights concerning visits or connections to loved ones may help ease the fear and anxiety that separation often creates. Click on the image below to enlarge it.
E:  Review the following worksheet developed by FosterClub to help children gain a better understanding of what separation from their family members looks like and ideas about how to keep in touch with important people, excerpted from FosterClub’s Foster Cub Coloring Book. Having a conversation with the younger youth in your care may prove to be a little more complicated than a conversation with a teen.  Click on the image below to enlarge it.
F:  Review the following worksheet, “What will we do on a visit?” An excerpt from FosterClub’s Foster Cub Coloring Book. Easing the uncertainty for children in your care when it comes to visits with biological family is important. Beyond initial greetings, family visits can become awkward for the child and visitor alike. Plan ahead with the child about things they can do at their visit, and help pack a bag with items that promote interactivity and connection:  Click on the image below to enlarge it.
G:  Review the worksheet below, “What will my family be doing in foster care?” Often the anxiety that evolves from separation is the lack of knowledge regarding what the rest of the young person's family will be doing in foster care. Help begin a conversation about what family members may be up to during the young person’s absence from the home. This could also be used during visitation with family members. Excerpted from FosterClub’s Foster Cub Coloring BookClick on the image below to enlarge it.
H:  Continue the conversation on the supportive adult forum, add a comment to course discussion topic question: CLICK HERE

Want to take the quiz and receive credit for this course? Please subscribe below.

Course Discussion Question

How could you help minimize the impact of separation on a young person in your home when visits and/or communication with bio family is not an option?

  • We had a 4 year old boy who was separated from his sisters. We would facetime with them once a week so they could see each other between visits. They really enjoyed this!

    By 5 days 17 hours ago
  • An idea for young ones (we had an 18 month old and 3 year old placed with us) is to have them color a picture of their bio parents and siblings.

    By 3 weeks 1 day ago


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