In the areas of child and family policy and practice, major changes in hospital procedures, and in the placement of children in need of protection, have occurred in response to an understanding of the attachment process, attachment needs and how separation affects children. Attachment theory makes clear, unambiguous statements about the need for caregivers to have the necessary time, resources and emotional energy to provide that critical caregiving ingredient of sensitive responsiveness. It also makes a clear and unambiguous statement about the importance of continuity of care, especially for infants and toddlers. Adequate attention needs to be given to parents' separation feelings. Policy and practice must be sensitive to parental concerns and allow more opportunities for grief resolution. In relation to parents, the most important message from attachment theory is that the more parents are supported in the role, the more likely it is that their relationship with their child will be secure.