My Fellowship sought to research current innovations and interventions in the USA, Australia, Canada and Finland which directly or indirectly offer support for vulnerable children who are suffering from grief and loss experiences. I had a particular focus on ascertaining how these interventions could be applied to help grieving children living in foster care or those placed for adoption.
The report both highlights best practice in the USA, Australia, Canada and Finland and examines how these findings could be relevant to, and applied within, a UK context. The report also explores what exactly is meant by the concepts of “grief and loss.” It therefore sets out to examine the ways in which children in care are impacted by the separation and/ or the experience of the death of a loved one, and whether parallels can be drawn between separation and loss experiences so that the professionals around the child can more effectively provide relevant support.
The report concludes by bringing together key recommendations for policy and practice to enhance the grief support available to children in care within the United Kingdom.
These are namely;
- Grief and Loss training to be offered to all social workers, foster carers and adopters; to enable them to better understand the symptoms of grief and loss in children who are in/are coming from care and to feel well equipped to offer effective support
- Seasons for Growth to be more widely used as a resource in Fostering and Adoption settings
- Ensure Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and other therapeutic services working with children in care, recognize the role and responses to grief and loss in children.
- Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families to be adopted by universal bereavement services as an effective evidence based intervention that improves outcomes for grieving children