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The Impact of Grief and Loss. Our work, in large part, is dealing with the aftermath of loss. What is Grief and Loss?. “deep and poignant distress caused by being left desolate and alone”. Our Goals with Loss. Identify It Diminish It Deal with what remains. 6 Categories of Loss.

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Presentation Transcript
what is grief and loss
What is Grief and Loss?

“deep and poignant distress caused by being left desolate and alone”

our goals with loss
Our Goals with Loss

Identify It

Diminish It

Deal with what remains

6 categories of loss
6 Categories of Loss

Relationship Loss

Loss of Objects of Comfort

Loss of Secure / Familiar Environment

Loss of Self

Loss of Skills / Abilities / Competencies

Loss of Familiar Habits / Routines

Sometimes the most challenging behaviors we see in our children and youth are manifestations of the grief and loss they suffered
developmental mourning behavior
Developmental Mourning Behavior


Excessive activity


No words to process what happened

Self-blame, someone must be responsible

Crying, expression of painful feelings

Clingy, fear of abandonment

developmental mourning behavior1
Developmental Mourning Behavior


Changes in eating and sleeping

Distraught, preoccupied

School problems (grief takes emotional effort)

Anger; lack of control

Withdrawn, passive, unwilling to connect

developmental mourning behaviors
Developmental Mourning Behaviors


Risk taking

Self destruction, suicidal thoughts

Running away

Drugs and alcohol


“Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."

Pooh thought for a little. "How old shall I be then?"


Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.

--A. A. Milne, "The House at Pooh Corner", Chapter X Winnie the Pooh

losses we can diminish
Losses We Can Diminish

Loss of kin

Loss of siblings

Loss of friends

Loss of community / school

The siblings and kin of children and youth in care had nothing to do with them entering care. In most cases they are also grieving the loss of their kin, sister, brother or friend.
good practice in kin and sibling connections
Good Practice in Kin and Sibling Connections

Always make decisions that honor connections to kin, siblings, community

Start early to make connections and keep connecting and re-connecting during entire life of case

Never give up

siblings in out of home care
Siblings In Out-Of-Home Care

“Sibling pairs placed together were more likely to remain in their first placement (56%) than those placed separately, and it was less likely for one of the pair to experience a placement disruption than for the separately placed siblings”

Child Welfare League of America, Ilene Staff, Edith Fein

In 2004 a study completed on successful adolescent adoption noted that 93% of these youth had contact or some sort of connection to kin or siblings
siblings in out of home care1
Siblings in Out-of-Home Care

“The majority of children in out-of-home care have siblings—between 87% and 90%—yet agencies succeed at keeping siblings together as little as 25% of the time”

Timberlake and Hamlin 1982

good practice in kin and sibling connections1
Good Practice in Kin and Sibling Connections

Decide from beginning to honor kin, sibling, community connections

Start early to make connections

Keep connecting and re-connecting throughout case

Never give up

suggested practices to keep siblings together
Suggested Practices to Keep Siblings Together

Introduce children into family in staggered placements

Present sibling groups together in photo-listings, recruitment, campaigns

Encourage sibling communication, visitation if in separate placements

Place children in homes in same neighborhoods, schools

good decision making for siblings
Good Decision-Making for Siblings

Assess siblings’ relationship

Schedule a staffing

List of pros and cons

For each argument to separate, challenge and test choice

Once decision is made, document reasons in writing

good decision making for siblings1
Good Decision-Making for Siblings

If siblings are placed separately, develop a concrete plan

Help caretakers identify potential issues at visits

Plan to deal with them

At end of staffing, decide who will tell children and how

in pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania

We do well with sibling connection until TPR

Fostering Connections addresses importance of connection to kin, siblings, community