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 2019 Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM), approximately 4.9 million children in the U.S. will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they reach adulthood—and this number more than doubles by age 25.
In Illinois, 1 in 16 children will become bereaved due to the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. Childhood bereavement affects 6.4% 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 181,000 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. (2019). Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model: Understanding Childhood Grief in the U.S. Retrieved from www.judishouse.org/CBEM.)