Disenfranchised grief: the emotional impact experienced by Foster Carers upon the cessation of a placement.

Dave Lynes, Angela Sitoe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    60 Downloads (Pure)


    This study used a qualitative approach to explore the lived experience of UK foster carers when a child is ‘moved on’ from a placement. It focussed specifically on the experience of loss. In most cases participants reported loving the child as their own and described their surprise at experiencing profound loss and grief, especially when living through their first loss of a foster child. Their experience was one of disenfranchised grief in that the severity of grief was not expected by their social group or by those professionals interacting with them, and participants felt that their loss was not perceived as legitimate; it was not, therefore, given a vehicle for expression. In some cases, participants reported that the experience of disenfranchised grief changed the way in which they approached caring for children, or it resulted in cessation of fostering. The implications for practice include preparing foster carers to expect a normal grief response, and the enhancement of peer and professional support during that process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-34
    JournalAdoption and fostering
    Issue number1
    Early online date18 Mar 2019
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Mar 2019


    • Foster carers
    • disenfranchised grief
    • loss
    • placement change


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