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Printed: 03/10/2022
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Grief and separation: When a child or young person enters care

What's Important To Us

Moving from family into care, or from one caregiver to another, is likely to be a distressing experience for a child or young person. We need to be aware of and prepared for the ways that they may express their grief at this separation and work with the child, their family and their caregivers to support them.

Children and young people entering care often experience a sense of loss and grief. This key information offers ideas about how to support the child through the process.

When a child or young person moves from family into care they are likely to be filled with mixed emotions. They might feel:

  • a deep sense of loss and grief that they have been separated from their parents or usual caregiver
  • confused
  • angry that they have no control over what's happening to them.

Their parents or usual caregivers are likely to feel similar emotions.

The way a child or young person copes with the move into care can be strongly influenced by the actions of social workers and new caregivers. The events leading to the need for care, as well as any previous experiences the child or young person has had in care, will also have an impact.