Child Bereavement Program Services
Many children and teenagers suffer the loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, relative, or may face multiple losses. The Children's Bereavement Program provides a safe environment for families, children and teens with grief to ask questions, work through feelings of loss, and realize they are not alone. This program is available to grieving children, teens, and families who suffer from expected, and unexpected deaths, including heart attacks, strokes, suicide, terminal illnesses, and accidents.
Thanks to the generous support from thoughtful donors, grants, and the Benefis Health System, services are provided at no cost to families across North Central Montana.
– young Camp Francis camper
“Thanks for helping me with my feelings and being the best of helpers.”
What Services are Available?
We serve as a resource not only to the communities of Cascade County, but also across the region. We work with kids and families on anticipatory grief as well.
Peace Hospice Children's Bereavement Program has many resources available:
- Children's books on death and dying. Books about children and grief.
- Support information about the developmental stages of children and common reactions to grief.
- Personalized memory books about the child and his/her loved one.
- Over-the-phone support and one to one visits across north central Montana. Consultations regarding children and grief.
Kid/Parent Support Group
An annual Kids/Parents Support Group for grieving kids ages 6-12 and parents is offered during the evenings. The group runs for eight consecutive weeks starting in October. In the support group, kids connect with other grieving kids while having a safe place to talk about grief, ask questions, learn, do creative activities, and most importantly have fun. The parent support group also works through grief and teaches techniques for family support.
T.A.G. (Talking About Grief)
T.A.G. or Talking About Grief is a teenage grief support group that meets at Middle Schools, and High Schools during the school year. Teens benefit from learning about reactions to grief, teaching others about their grief, and getting support from peers. T.A.G. groups began in Great Falls at CMR and GFHS in 1994 and worked closely with the schools CARE program. Peace Hospice Children's Bereavement Volunteers along with school faculty are trained in youth bereavement and facilitate the groups. Teens may be self-referred or identified by the CARE program, school counselors, teachers, parents, or through Peace Hospice. Throughout the years, we have been able to offer T.A.G. in the rural schools across North Central Montana as well.
Camp Francis is for children ages 6-12, who have experienced the death of a significant person in their life. This camp is held the third week of June at Camp Rotary, which is in the mountains near Monarch, Montana. Camp Francis is a safe, supportive place for children to go and learn about their grief while having a memorable camp experience with their peers. Campers are given opportunities to tell their stories, explore their feelings, remember their loved ones, learn about self-care, and practice reinvesting in life. Children can express their thoughts and feelings, using music, art, games, and crafts. Most campers come from Great Falls and the targeted hospice area, but some campers come from other areas of Montana and even as far as Florida and Washington.
Darcy's Hope Teen Retreat
Teens and adolescents also need a safe place to express their grief and seek out peer support. Darcy's Hope for teens was started for that purpose. It provides young people, ages 13-1 8, a chance to connect with peers who also have experienced a loss, and participate in activities led by trained facilitators to help understand and find ways to cope with grief in daily life. Darcy's Hope is held every 3rd weekend of October in the mountains near Monarch, MT.
Children's Bereavement Christmas Party
This party is offered to all children, teens, and their families who have been involved in any aspect of the Children's Bereavement Program. Families participate in art and music activities that offer ways to practice coping through the holidays. The evening ends with a remembrance ceremony, which helps with the reality of loss, acknowledgement of feelings, self-care and healing.