The literature presented in the study incorporates that there are many different types of grief associated with the loss felt by foster parents after a child leaves their care; as mentioned in Hebert et al’s study these feelings described as “ambiguous loss”, “disenfranchised grief”, and “anticipatory grief”. “Ambiguous loss” and “disenfranchised grief” have been explored with numerous reports, but the notion of “anticipatory grief”, or the feeling of grief associated with either something that has happened or is about to happen, mentioned in the study, is not one that has been as closely explored (Hebert et al 2013), but is commonly felt among foster parents.
The methodology explored in Hebert, Kulkin, and McLean’s study includes a mixed method approach that focuses on two guiding research questions (Rubin and Babbie, 2013); one question asked was if foster parents have ever experienced feelings of grief, and a second that asked about specific instances of grief that these foster parents experienced (2013). The participants, “all long-term foster carers” from the state of Louisiana, were asked to complete a twenty part questionnaire that analyzed their socio-demographic factors, such as race, age, gender, marital status, and household income (Hebert et al, 2013). The questionnaire also included several open-ended questions were foster parents were allowed to freely give their ...
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...uence future policy making to include that all foster parents should have some self-care training that includes an emphasis on handling grief after a foster child leaves.
Prior to reading this article, my knowledge of the foster care system was minimal at best. I understood the basic principle that children were sometimes removed from their homes, and placed with a foster family for a varied amount of time. Until I had read Hebert and colleague’s publication, the idea of a foster parent experiencing grief when a foster child leaves their care was not a concept I had thought of, nor does it seem, by the implications given in the study to be an idea that many outside the social work practice are familiar with. The core values of the NASW code of ethics, are fully supported and represented with the study presented by Hebert et al, but the importance of the research
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