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Children & Loss

We know that loss and bereavement have significant personal, community, and health impacts yet are under-studied and not sufficiently incorporated into the curricula of health and social care professionals.

The science around loss, bereavement and resilience continues to evolve, so it is now possible to identify both risk and protective factors and, consequently, to intervene to benefit individual and community health.

When a child experiences loss, either through death or parental separation, their needs are often misunderstood or overlooked. Because children may express their grief in ways that are different to adults, their reactions may go unrecognised.

The Professional Certificate in Children and Loss, a collaborative programme between RCSI and the Opens in new windowIrish Hospice Foundation, seeks to equip practitioners with the necessary skills to understand and support children on their grief journey.

This programme will provide you with the skills and knowledge to:

•Develop a critical understanding of the theory underpinning childhood loss and bereavement.

•Evaluate the different types of loss issues experienced by children at different stages in their development e.g. younger children and adolescents, loss through separation and divorce.

•Critically appraise therapeutic interventions – including art and clay.

•Analyse the role of resilience in bereaved children and an ability to incorporate resilience into care plans.

•Assess support systems for working with children and loss.

•Integrate new knowledge and skill into professional practice.

•Exhibit an integrated value-based and evidence-based approach to the support of bereaved children.

•Debate the merits of theoretical frameworks for children's loss experiences.

•Apply aspects of theories and models to explain individual children's grief experiences.

•Assess the moderators in responses to loss, including stage of development and nature of death and relationship lost.

•Critique contemporary understanding of bereavement and loss from a life-cycle perspective.

•Demonstrate critical, reflective practice and self-awareness.

•Locate and critique current knowledge on a loss related topic.

•Locate and appraise intervention strategies for working with children experiencing loss.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from professionals whose work brings them into contact with children who are bereaved through a family death or parental separation. The course will be of interest to teachers, chaplains, social workers, social care workers, psychologists, counsellors, nurses and others who meet bereaved children in their work.

•Applicants must possess a Level 8 degree in a relevant area or international equivalent*. Alternatively, eligibility may be demonstrated through a defined recognition of prior learning (RPL) process. RPL requires demonstration of significant experience in working with children in a professional capacity or through formal volunteering, completion of CPD or other training in a relevant area and, relevance of course to career/opportunity to apply learning.

•An academic transcript is also required. An academic transcript lists your complete academic history: programmes attended, a breakdown of marks/grades achieved, the degree awarded, your overall grade and conferring date.

•Applicants for whom English is not their native language may need to arrange a test to confirm proficiency in English with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). More detailed information on requirements, exceptions and test centres is available here.

*International degree equivalency should be verified using the Opens in new window NARIC service from QQI


There are 11 full-day inputs (on Thursdays and Fridays) over a seven-month period (September to March) at the offices of the Opens in new windowIrish Hospice Foundation. All the course presenters are skilled practitioners working with bereaved children.

Careers or further progression

Your future

Participants on this programme come from a range of professions and sectors across Ireland and the UK.

We aim to work with you to develop a new and informed approach to how bereavement care is provided in the settings in which you work.

Further enquiries

If you would like information on the next intake 2020/2021 please contact Iris Murray (tel. +353 1 679 3188).

Subjects taught

The Professional Certificate in Children and Loss consists of two modules:

•Understanding Children and Loss
•Addressing Loss Issues with Children

Each module consists of approximately 200 hours of learning including lecture time, self-directed learning, assignment preparation and integrative sessions.

There are 11 full-day inputs (on Thursdays and Fridays) over a seven-month period (September to March) at the offices of the Opens in new windowIrish Hospice Foundation. All the course presenters are skilled practitioners working with bereaved children.

The course also includes two integrative tutorial sessions designed to facilitate the integration of course learning in a small group setting and are led by our senior facilitators.

Course fee

Total fee: €1,650

Please note

•The course fee may be paid by cheque, postal order, electronic funds transfer or credit/debit card. Cheques/postal orders should be made payable to 'Irish Hospice Foundation' and forwarded to Iris Murray, Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2, D02 YE06.

•A non-refundable deposit of €250 is required on acceptance of a course place.

•Cancellations up to three weeks prior to the course commencing will be given a full refund, minus a cancellation fee of €200. Thereafter, no refunds will be made.

•Fees are eligible for tax relief.

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