A group approach to addressing the separation experiences of children in care
McGregor, David B.
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A potential for harm exists whenever a child is separated from his or her parents through an apprehension and placement into foster care. Child welfare has the responsibility to support those children it places into care and their alternative care givers through the experiences of separation and loss. For many children, placement into care is a traumatizing experience. The children entering care present with behavioural and emotional needs which challenge and stress their care givers. The care giver's ability to support a child's needs during placement has a significant impact upon the trauma experienced by the child. The following practicum reports on a 10 week group intervention for children in care of a rural child welfare agency, which provided participants with the opportunity to talk about their separation experiences and feelings of being in care. Extensive reviews of attachment, separation and loss theories are examined to consider their implications for working with children in care. A group intervention with children at a latency-early adolescent development level is thoroughly presented. The challenges in working with the care givers of these children through a parallel group process are also explored. Four measures are used to evaluate the effectiveness of the group, and several recommendations are considered for further group interventions.