Long overlooked, childhood bereavement is a prevalent and critical public health issue that can have a profound impact on future well-being. According to the 2021 Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM), an estimated 1 in 14, or 5.3 million, children in the U.S. will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they reach the age of 18. By age 25, this number more than doubles to 13.3 million.
In Illinois, 1 in 15 children will become bereaved due to the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. Childhood bereavement affects 6.8% of youth in our community. Experiencing a significant death loss during childhood often results in profound stress and adversity and, without appropriate support, can derail a child’s development. For the 196,000 grieving youth in Illinois, access to comprehensive grief-focused, trauma-informed care and resources is essential. We must invest in awareness and prevention to ensure a compassionate response that promotes healthy growth for all grieving children. (Source: Judi’s House. (2021). Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model. Retrieved from www.judishouse.org/CBEM.)