Attachment and Loss


Everyone in the children’s workforce needs to understand attachment and the impact on brain development if secure attachments are not formed. This course enables learners to gain this necessary knowledge about attachment and loss, and also describes appropriate interventions to assist children and young people to recover. It emphasises the importance of teamwork in dealing with childhood trauma.

About the Attachment and Loss course

Written by:

Dr Amelia Roberts, Institute of Education, University of London, and Kate Cairns

What it covers:

This course covers basic information about attachment and loss including:

  • attachment theory
  • the effect of unmet attachment needs
  • how to work with children who have unmet attachment needs, and
  • interventions to help children recover


This course is compliant with Foster care training support and development standards.

Background information on attachment and loss

Attachment theory draws on the work of John Bowlby, who published a three-volume work on Attachment and Loss in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. It describes the fundamental drive for an infant to form a secure bond early in life with one or more caregivers who are responsive to its needs. In a normal attachment, the child will feel safe when in proximity to their trusted caregiver, and will express distress when separated.

When their attachment needs are not met due to maltreatment, loss or neglect, children will find it very difficult to form close relationships with adults, including new adoptive or foster carers. Emotional problems such as anxiety and mistrust are very common. As they grow, such children are also likely to have difficulty forming relationships with others in a social context.

With consistent, loving care, however, it is possible for children with negative early experiences to learn to trust their new caregivers and adjust their expectations of new relationships. Armed with the knowledge and support to meet their needs, caregivers can change the pattern and help children and young people to recover from their early trauma or loss.

More information

For more information on the Attachment and Loss e-learning course, email us at or call 01923 850408.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course on Attachment and Loss, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the attachment process
    • Describe the attachment process and the impact on brain development
    • Explain the effects of positive and negative attachment relationships on child development
  • Know how to promote positive attachment relationships
    • Identify the skills that are required to promote positive attachment relationships
    • Explain how working as part of a team promotes positive attachments
  • Know about the impact of trauma, separation and loss on child development
    • Identify key areas of child development that are affected by exposure to traumatic events
    • Explain the impact of separation and loss on children and young people
  • Understand how intervention can assist children and young people who have been traumatised through early life experiences
    • Describe a range of appropriate areas of intervention that would assist a child or young person who has been traumatised through early life experiences
    • Explain how working as part of a team promotes recovery for traumatised children and young people

Additional Information

This course is available in Australian Legislation.

Course rating

I have taken lots and lots of e-courses through work and this is the best by far that I have accessed with much more relevant information and the test at the end being more thorough than is normal. I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Thanks.

Foster carer, Carmarthenshire
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