Grief & Loss in the Care System
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Charley Joyce, LICSW, discusses how, in foster care, grief and loss are experienced by everyone involved in the removal and placement of a child. The child, birth parents, and the foster family all go through stages of grief. Yet, this grief is often denied or hidden. Learn about the stages of natural grieving, how grief is expressed, and "complex grief." Also discussed are strategies for helping children, birth parents and family members handle and appropriately express their feelings of grief and loss.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • identify the stages of grief
  • understand what contributes to foster children's and birth parents' grief over the child’s separation from their birth parents
  • describe the manifestations of grief and loss in children and birth parents after the child is removed from the birth family home
  • identify strategies for foster parents to help children through the grief
  • understand the grief and loss foster parents experience following the return of children to the birth parents
  • describe "complex grief" and identify strategies for helping prevent this type of grief


As I went through this module, I could relate to each stage of grief and loss. I've been a foster/adoptive parent for 10+ years and have experienced it several times. It's both difficult and exhausting, just as described.
Lynn B.

This would be a good course to do before the foster child enters the home, it is very helpful to understand how this affects everybody involved, and offers good advice and tools to help with grief and loss. Very good course.
Mrs. and Mr. Beckett

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This course examines the stages of grief as experienced by children, birth families and foster families:

  • stages of grief

  • "complex grief"

  • healthy grief


2 credit hours,
$10.00 per person