Ambiguous Loss in the context of child protection and OOHC practice

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.

The concept of ambiguous loss has been developed by the US scholar Dr Pauline Boss in the 1970s; however, it has remained a relatively new concept to out-of-home care (OOHC) practitioners. Emerging research has demonstrated that children and young people in care experience ambiguous loss prior to and during their OOHC journeys. However, this experience is rarely recognised and therapeutically responded to by adults, which often leads to disenfranchised grief. Leaving the impacts of ambiguous loss unaddressed is detrimental to children’s care experience in many ways, from poor psychological and behavioural adjustments, to disengagement from placement and relationships. This training aims to develop your understanding of ambiguous loss in OOHC context and develop practice to reduce ambiguity for children and help them cope with the grief associated with ambiguous loss.   

Training Delivery:

This training is delivered in two half-day workshops (9.30 to 1pm each day).

Day 1 will focus on the theory of ambiguous loss and its impacts on children in OOHC.

Day 2 will focus on practice and consider strategies that may help reduce ambiguity for children and help them develop constructive coping strategies.

The training will be delivered remotely via Zoom. 

Learning outcomes:

At the conclusion of this training, you are expected to:

·         Have developed an understanding of ambiguous loss and its different dimensions in the context of OOHC

·         Have an increased awareness of how children in OOHC may express ambiguous loss and its impacts

·         Use ambiguous loss as an additional lens to understand children’s experience and their emotional and behavioural presentations in OOHC.

·         Have developed practice strategies to reduce ambiguity for children in various aspects of their OOHC experiences.

More information about ambiguous loss in the context of child protection and OOHC practice can be found here:

Kenny Kor, PhD, is a social work lecturer at the University of Wollongong. He has nearly 20 years’ experience working with children, young people, and their families across various social service settings such as out-of-home care, child protection, community health and mental health.

Jodie Park is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. Jodie has a private social work practice that specialises in working with children and adults who are connected to the child protection and/or out-of-home care system. Jodie is currently working with ACWA in a workforce development role.