What is limbo?

Limbo was originally a Christian medieval term given for the resting place of souls without fault that were deprived of heaven, and is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.” This concept has been applied by child welfare to the prolonged period of time in which children are deprived of permanency. Although there are many reasons why a child may be “in limbo”, the destabilization of children’s lives while they remain in limbo undermines the development and continuity of important relationships resulting in severe emotional and psychological costs. The goal of the Children in Limbo Task Force is to identify, describe and illustrate the factors and issues both clinical and court-related, which contribute to children remaining in limbo unnecessarily.