The termination phase of residential child care placement has a powerful effect on postplacement adjustment. This article reviews relevant literature from a range of helping/caring professions and outlines implications for managing termination with children and youth in care.

Major themes are: termination elicits ambivalence and can manifest as behavioural regression; intervention during the termination phase can have significant impact; and the capacity of child and youth care workers to deal with separation issues must be considered.