Effective Grief Care Services
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.