The Children’s Bureau and Learning Coordination Center hosted a webinar on June 21, 2023, titled “Supporting Children and Youth Coping with Unresolved Loss.” The panel focused on ambiguous loss, defined as when a parent is physically or emotionally absent in a child’s life due to foster care, incarceration, substance use disorders, or other physical or mental health concerns. Dr. Deborah Langosch of GrandFamilies, who led the webinar, emphasized that supporting children facing ambiguous loss requires understanding and acknowledgement that they are dealing with trauma, conflicting emotions, grief, and uncertainty. It is important for children to feel secure, seen, and heard, as they learn to navigate their loss. The webinar included resources and conversation-starters for both caregivers and social workers to use in supporting children of all ages in coping with ambiguous loss.

By Jacqueline Glenn, Policy Intern