Caring, Listening, Sharing, and Healing

The loss of a loved one is very difficult for children and young people.Death, separation and divorce changes the shape of a family. Whatever the reason the impact on a child or young person can be tough, as they struggle to come to terms with what has happened.

The Children’s Grief Centre is here to walk the journey with your child. We provide support, care and an open ear to hear their story. We do not charge a fee for our service.

Why We're Needed

In 2011, it was estimated that in Ireland there were 3,360 16 year olds who had experienced the death of one or both parents. A similar number had experienced the death of a sibling (Irish Hospice Foundation, 2012). More recently, according to the Growing Up in Ireland Study, a Government-funded study of children being carried out jointly by the ESRI and Trinity College Dublin:

“Over one-third of 9-year-olds had experienced the death of a close family member (not including a parent) since the age of 5.”

 

To find out more visit www.esri.ie/growing-up-in-ireland

9-year-olds who had experienced several stressful life events in the previous four years were more likely to be at risk of socio-emotional and behavioural problems.

Experiences of loss and bereavement are all too common among children and young people in Ireland today. The loss of a parent either through death or separation is one of the most profound a child can face. It fundamentally changes the core of a child’s existence (Worden, 1996).

Our Story

The Children’s Grief Centre was founded in 2009 by, Sister Helen Culhane, together with a support group of professionals. As a Sister of Mercy. a qualified social worker and psychotherapist, Helen worked with people who were struggling with issues relating to death, bereavement and palliative care. This included time spent at Milford Care Centre.

Helen’s experience meant she developed a clear understanding of the needs of children and young people who were experiencing loss. She recognised that there was a lack of services and support for children and young people who were affected by the death of a loved one. Helen also saw there was an increasing need for support of children and young people who suffer loss due to separation or divorce of parents.

Helen’s vision was that the Centre would provide children and young people with a listening ear.

Today the Centre is well established within the Mid-West region, serving counties Clare, Tipperary and Limerick. We have a team of 7 trained, part-time volunteer Support Workers and 1 full time Support Worker with experience in a diverse range of specialist fields including education, nursing, social work and psychotherapy.

Our Mission

The Children’s Grief Centre is a support service for school-aged children and young people affected by loss through death, separation or divorce. It provides a safe and supportive place for children and young people and their families who are grieving. The service is provided by trained and experienced people.

Our Values

Caring through Listening

We give children a space to talk, share, ask questions and explore their emotions.

Safety

Our support service is a safe place that helps children feel calm, secure and welcomed.

Non-judgemental

Our role is never to judge, sway opinion or arbitrate between parents. We are here solely for the children.

Acceptance

We work with children across all backgrounds, cultures and religions.

Teamwork

We have a team of professionals with a combination of skills and qualifications.

Does Your Child Need to Talk?

After a death or family separation, one of the things many children feel the need to do is share their story. One of the ways an adult can help a child through this emotional time is simply to LISTEN. Of course they don’t always make this known, so watching for the signs is key. Your child may benefit from support if he or she:

  • displays sadness that doesn’t seem to lift.
  • shows signs of changes in attitude or behaviour.
  • is angry and expresses rage or defiance.
  • is withdrawn and appears to be lonely.
  • has nightmares or sudden fears.
  • is confused about what has happened.

How Your Child Benefits

  • Children are able to open up to an objective, neutral person.
  • Children feel heard and understood.
  • Children who share their stories gain a renewed sense of self-value.
  • By ‘getting their words out’ and verbalising what they are feeling, children start to make sense of what they are going through and feel more in control.
  • Children feel less anxious and worried.