Helping Children When A Family Member Has Cancer: When A Child Has Lost A Parent

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How do I find out more about loss?

This short introduction is offered to help you get started looking into deeper and ongoing resources to help a child who has lost a parent. We have included a list of websites and organizations that you can use to help your child.

As the surviving parent or guardian, you have also had to deal with this major loss. You might want to learn more about coping with your own grief and loss, too. Remember that children cope better when their caregiver is emotionally healthy, so don’t hesitate to ask for help for yourself if you think you need it. For more on dealing with adult grief, see Coping With the Loss of a Loved One. You can read it on our website, www.cancer.org, or call us at 1-800-227-2345 and ask for a copy.

Some of the resources below also deal with adult grief.

If you need information for families who have lost a child, please contact us for Resources for Parents and Families Who Have Lost a Child to Cancer, or read it on our website.

To learn more

The following list of websites and organizations may provide useful information for people who are going through a loss or discussing death with children.

The American Cancer Society also has a book that addresses this:

And Still They Bloom by Amy Rovere. Published by the American Cancer Society, 2012. Ages 9-12.

Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit our bookstore online at www.cancer.org/bookstore to find out about costs or to place an order.

National organizations and websites*

Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support include:

GriefNet
Telephone: 734-761-196
Website for adults: www.griefnet.org
Website for children: http://kidsaid.com

    Information on grief and bereavement; online and email groups for adult grief support; separate online support groups for children under 12 and for teens (with consent from parent or guardian)

The Dougy Center
Toll-free number: 1-866-775-5683
Website: www.dougy.org

    Information, books, DVDs, and online activities for grieving children, teens, adults, and their families. They refer to programs across the country and around the world that serve to help children in grief. Some support groups offered, even for very young children.

The Centering Corporation
Toll-free number: 1-866-218-0101
Website: www.centering.org

    Information, books, and many other resources on bereavement and loss for children and adults; also has materials in Spanish

Fernside
Telephone: 513-246-9140
Website: www.fernside.org

    Offers phone support to parents and guardians with questions or concerns about the needs of grieving children; also has “How to Help” booklets to help adults assist grieving children

Kids Konnected
Toll-free number: 1-800-899-2866 (If you get voicemail, leave a message to get a call back)
Website: www.kidskonnected.org

    A support network for children and teens who have lost a parent to cancer

You may also want to contact your local hospice or hospital for bereavement support groups in your area.

*Inclusion on these lists does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society

Last Medical Review: 12/02/2014
Last Revised: 12/12/2014