Leading grief support provider Judi’s House releases Groundbreaking national bereavement estimation tool.

Press Release

New model finds 1 in 15 children will experience death of a parent or sibling by age 18

DENVER, July 19, 2018 – Leading area grief care provider Judi’s House/JAG Institute today unveiled the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM), a first-of-its-kind tool providing up-to-date state and national estimates for the prevalence of childhood bereavement in the U.S., developed with support from the New York Life Foundation.

This model – completed as part of a two-year, $1 million grant from the Foundation – uses the most recent, publicly available, national and state population data sources to deliver the most accurate approximations to date of the number of children who will experience bereavement by the time they reach adulthood. The model estimates that one in 15 children (6.8%) will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18 – constituting over 4.8 million children nationally.

Drawing on state- and county-level data, the CBEM is also able to calculate the scope of the issue on a region-by-region basis for the first time – enabling new analysis of areas with high bereavement levels, as well as alerting service providers to local needs. According to the CBEM:

  • West Virginia has the highest childhood bereavement rate, with an estimated 11.4% experiencing the death of a parent or sibling by age 18, followed by Mississippi (10.8%), Alabama (10.5%), New Mexico (10.1%) and Kentucky (9.9%)
  • Washington D.C. has the lowest childhood bereavement rate, with an estimated 4.9% experiencing the death of a parent or sibling by age 18, followed by Minnesota (5%), California (5%), New York (5.1%), and Hawaii (5.1%)

"Over the past decade, as the bereavement support field has grown, the need for standard, reliable metrics and tools used by practitioners and institutions alike has become particularly evident," said Maria Collins, Vice President of the New York Life Foundation. "The CBEM offers a much-needed tool for quantifying and contextualizing grief as a public health issue in our communities – which we hope will serve to bring greater awareness and support to the bereaved children and families who need it most."

"Our hope is that the CBEM will assist local grief professionals with service planning and distribution by highlighting the number of youth in need of grief resources and services in a given geographical region," said Brook Griese, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Judi’s House and JAG Institute.  “When communities are more fully aware of the magnitude of this issue, they can take steps to better prepare to allocate resources to appropriately address the needs of the grieving children in their midst."

The CBEM uses a theoretical approach grounded in population estimation techniques to produce comprehensive estimates of children bereaved by parent and/or sibling loss, taking into account a range of statistics including population counts, death rates, number of children in a household, and age of parents at first birth. CBEM estimates are available for youth up to age 18 and 25, and will be updated annually as new data are released.

Judi’s House developed the CBEM as part of a multi-year New York Life Foundation grant to support the advancement of the bereavement field by developing new resources designed for broad dissemination and use among service providers and other grief support stakeholders. The CBEM was introduced recently at the annual conference of the National Alliance for Grieving Children, the field’s nationwide network of grief professionals, institutions, and volunteers. A CBEM Toolkit is available at www.judishouse.org/CBEM and includes reports on prevalence rates and related data for the U.S. and each of the 50 states, along with customizable and interactive resources for building awareness and mobilizing action in support of grieving children and families.

About Judi’s House
Judi’s House was founded on the belief that all bereaved children and families should have access to effective and compassionate care. Former NFL quarterback Brian Griese was just 12 years old when his mother, Judi, died from breast cancer. Brian and his wife, Brook Griese, PhD, a clinical child psychologist specializing in trauma and loss, founded Judi’s House in her memory in 2002. Judi’s House is the only free-standing organization in the Metro Denver area devoted solely to supporting grieving children and their families with research-based care. The mission of Judi’s House is to help children and families grieving a death find connection and healing, while JAG Institute helps further this mission through comprehensive research and training initiatives. Judi’s House has supported more than 9,000 youth, ages 3-25, and caregivers, toward its vision that no child should be alone in grief.  To learn more, please visit www.judishouse.org.

About the New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $250 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org

Media contact

Lacey Siegel

New York Life

212-576-7937 Lacey_S_Siegel@newyorklife.com