Back to news

Saying goodbye: Dealing with end of placement grief

Saying Goodbye Dealing With End Of Placement Grief (800 X 600 Px)

It’s easy to talk about the best times of fostering, the laughter, the fun, the love, the breakthroughs, even the tiny ones that we go over the top to celebrate in the hope they keep coming. However, the downside of this and there is one, is the heartbreak of a placement finishing even if it’s been a really good placement with a great outcome. We grieve. 

Placements finish for all sorts of reasons. The child is going back home, they’ve maybe reached 18. It might be your circumstances have changed or it might be, and it does happen, that a child’s needs have changed and you’re not able to accommodate them. Regardless of how the placement has been, even if the behaviours have been extreme, exhausting or mentally and physically challenging I do not believe there is a foster carer out there that doesn’t sit in a quiet moment and grieve the ending of that relationship.

If it’s been a good experience and you’ve lost a bit of your heart, you grieve.

It’s understandable, you’ve cared for and loved that child or children and treated them like your own and they’ve gone. Just like when you send your own to Uni or they’ve joined the forces or moved for work. You grieve. 

Your heart is full of hope for their futures. Futures that you have helped them aspire to, encouraged them to dream and supported and invested in them to achieve.

Or sometimes when it’s been a hard placement, you’ve still loved and cared for them, you shut the door after an awkward goodbye with a heavy heart and sometimes a sigh of relief. 

So, you re-run things through your head. Could I have done something differently, could I have done more? We grieve. 

Thankfully, your supporting social worker understands how you feel and after a good sit down, probably a flood of tears, well certainly in my case, and a cup of tea or coffee and probably half a pack of chocolate biscuits, we smile. Remembering the good stuff.

Despite everything, we’ve kept them safe and healthy and given them time and we should be proud of that. We pray for the child and their future and look forward to a good few days off or a holiday to recharge before opening our homes and our hearts to another young person with open arms.


Fostering insights


  • Advice
  • Foster Carer
  • Support

Date published

09 May 2024

Do you think you can change the life of a local vulnerable child or young person?

Get in touch today for a casual, friendly chat with our experienced foster advisors.

Contact us