Supporting Children and Youth Coping with Unresolved Loss
DEBORAH LANGOSCH, PhD, LCSW, Founding Member, GrandFamilies Outcome Workgroup (GrOW)
Ambiguous loss occurs when a parent is physically or emotionally absent, whether due to a child welfare removal, incarceration, substance use, or physical or mental health struggles. Children facing ambiguous loss are dealing with grief, uncertainty, confusion, and many other conflicting emotions. Ambiguous loss can cause challenging reactions and affect a child’s behavior, relationships, and learning. Understanding ambiguous loss, its impact on children, and how to promote resiliency and healthy coping for them, is important for both child welfare intervention and prevention communities.