It has been said that time heals all wounds ...

At Judi’s House, research has demonstrated that this is not always the case.

The phrase ‘children are resilient’ is used quite often in our society. However, children don’t just need time to ‘bounce back’ from the death of a loved one. At Judi’s House we have found the most effective way to support grieving children is through preventive interventions that are research-based, with measurable outcomes.

Our research has shown that grieving children and families who attended Pathfinders groups at Judi’s House show improvements in:

  • Behavioral and emotional adjustment
  • Grief and trauma-related distress
  • Health and sleep issues
  • Academic performance
  • Family functioning and communication
  • Adult depressive symptoms

Preventive services that address childhood grief and trauma early on can help keep youth on track developmentally and have the potential to save communities significant long-term costs.

The Adjustment to Trauma, Loss, and Adversity Scale (ATLAS) is one of the tools developed at Judi’s House to assess and track children’s adjustment after a death.  It examines the impact of bereavement and the effect of grief interventions on emotional, cognitive, behavioral, physical, academic, and social adjustment, with higher scores indicating more adjustment difficulties.  As can be seen in this graph of ATLAS scores, research findings indicate that children’s grief-related difficulties improve substantially after attending just ten weeks of Pathfinders. Most importantly, scores continue to decrease even a year later.

An Issue that Will Always Exist

Judi’s House cannot prevent the events that cause grief. Death is inevitable, and there will always be children and families struggling with the tragic loss of loved ones. However, what we can do is ensure that grieving children are not forgotten, and provide them with the preventive programs and individualized services necessary to begin their healing process.

I can tell you that Judi’s House gave me skills — like being able to recognize, express and cope with grief, and then find hope, and know that I can heal. That healing allowed me to grow, and I’ve been able to push myself and do so many things since my mom died — all because I know that I can work through something really hard.
— Former Judi’s House client
Judi’s House is a wonderful example of the value of providing preventative services to youth in need in our community. These programs have a profound impact on the futures of hundreds of children every year. They are preventing countless negative outcomes in kids by building healthy coping skills that will help them the rest of their lives.
— Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver