Judi’s House and JAG Institute teamed up with the New York Life Foundation to create the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM), a tool to measure bereavement in the U.S. As part of a two-year, $1 million grant from the Foundation, this model uses recent local, state, and national population data sources to deliver the most accurate and current information about the number of children experiencing grief. Nationally, the data suggests that 6.8 percent of children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18 — that’s nearly 5 million children.
The CBEM will aid professionals in understanding how many youth may be in need of grief resources or services in a given geographical region, therefore assisting with service planning and distribution. If communities are more fully aware of the magnitude of the issue, they can be better prepared to allocate resources to appropriately address the needs of the bereaved. Quantifying and contextualizing childhood bereavement as a public health issue will also help bring more awareness and funding to this largely overlooked issue.
"The CBEM offers a much-needed tool for quantifying and contextualizing grief as a public health issue in our communities."
- Maria Collins, Vice President of the New York Life Foundation
According to co-founder and CEO of Judi’s House, Brook Griese, "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 is also able to analyze data on a regional level, helping to target areas with high bereavement levels. For example, data shows West Virginia has the highest percentage of children experiencing grief at 11.4 per cent, nearly twice the national average. Other high-percentage states are Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico, and Kentucky. Data also shows Washington, D.C. having the lowest percentage of grieving children at 4.9%, followed by Minnesota, California, New York, and Hawaii.
The CBEM uses a theoretical approach grounded in population estimation techniques to produce comprehensive estimates of childhood bereavement, using population counts, death rates, children per household, and parent’s age at first birth. The CBEM was developed by Judi’s House as part of a multi-year New York Life Foundation grant to aid in the dissemination of information among service providers and other grief support stakeholders. A toolkit is available where you can find reports on prevalence rates and related data for the U.S. and each of the 50 states, along with resources for building awareness and mobilizing action in support of grieving children and families.
Judi’s House was founded by Brooke Griese and her husband, former NFL quarterback Brian Griese, whose mother Judi died when he was 12. Serving the greater Denver area, they have helped more than 9,000 children since 2002. To learn more, go here.
Go back to the newsroom to read more stories.