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Professional Certificate in Children and Loss

"The depth of knowledge and, at times, heart-wrenching experiential learning stimulated by guest speakers facilitated a journey of self-reflection that helped me re-adjust my lens to the myriad of influences that can impact upon the bereaved child."

Post grad testimonial

About the course

This Professional Certificate in Children and Loss course aims to equip professionals who work with children/adolescents with the skills to understand and support them when grieving. When a child experiences loss, either through death or a parental separation, their needs are often misunderstood or overlooked. Children may express their grief in ways that are different to adults and often their reactions can go unrecognised. 

Educational Objectives

The programme aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values 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.


This is a part-time course that runs from September to March each year with two modules. Each module consists of approximately 200 hours of learning including lecture time, self-directed learning, assignment preparation and integrative sessions.

Module 1 – Understanding children and loss

On successful completion participants will be able to:

  • 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.

Module 2 – Addressing loss issues with children

On successful completion participants will be able to:

  • evaluate appropriate interventions for working with children experiencing loss.
  • locate and appraise intervention strategies for working with children experiencing loss.
  • assess formal support services and resources available for children facing loss and bereavement.

This course design supports the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). RCSI and NUI have awarded the course 20 credits. The programme is designed around Level 9 outcomes as identified in the National Framework of Qualifications.

Who is this course suitable for?

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.

Participants must possess a Level 8 degree in a relevant area or equivalent demonstrated through a defined Recognition of Prior Learning Process (RPL). 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 of your Level 8 degree (or higher if applicable) will be requested. An academic transcript lists your academic history: programme attended, a breakdown of marks/grades achieved, the degree awarded, your overall grade and conferring date.
International degrees’ equivalency are to be verified by using the 
NARIC service from QQI.

English language requirement

Prospective students 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). For more information on requirements, exceptions and test centres, click here.


The fee for the course is €1,650. The fee may be paid by bank transfer or credit/debit card to Irish Hospice Foundation. A non-refundable deposit of €250 is required on acceptance of a course place. Fees are eligible for tax relief.


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

Applications are now closed for the course commencing 7 September 2023. 

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