Support Groups


The Parent-to-Parent program provides one-to-one support for many parents whose children are patients at Children's. If interested, parents are matched with a trained volunteer whose child has had a similar experience. Volunteers provide emotional support and non-medical information. For information, call the Parent-to-Parent coordinators at (651) 220-6731 or (612) 813-6059.

Mental health professionals, chaplains, nurses, child life specialists, and social workers offer on-site support and therapy groups for children, adolescents, and parents. Information about these groups as well as national and community-based support groups can be obtained by calling The Family Resource Center at (612) 813-6816 or (651) 220-6368.

Some of the support groups offered at Children's include:

  • Cleft and craniofacial, consisting of educational meetings, one-to-one parent connections, and "Cleft Pals," a pen pal program that connects children of various ages who are facing similar challenges
  • Diabetes, age-specific groups for children and their parents
  • Grief, for siblings and parents
  • Helping Hearts and Parents for Heart, for parents of children with cardiovascular disorders
  • Hematology/Oncology, for parents
  • NICU Parent Circle, a one-session class for parents of preemies
  • Preemie Play and Learn, a class for NICU graduates and their families
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Also see Support Groups/Programs for a partial list of support groups.

Children's Hospitals of Minnesota is committed to being where the children are - in other words, we seek to improve the health of the children throughout our community. Our support groups and programs help children and their families to live healthier. Our specialists go to schools, homes, offices, and community agencies to deliver our services and expertise to families where they live and work.

Support Groups

Mental health professionals, chaplains, nurses, and social workers provide support and therapy groups for children, adolescents, and parents. Some of the support groups we offer:

  • Children with cancer and their families: 612-813-6138 in Minneapolis and 651-220-6741 in St. Paul
  • Cleft lip and palate, for parents: 612-813-6416
  • Cystic fibrosis: 612-813-6173
  • Diabetes Support Group 651-220-6624
  • Epilepsy, for parents of children hospitalized with epilepsy: 651-220-5290
  • Family Voices of Minnesota's Parent to Parent Program: 1-866-334-8444 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Bereavement Services-grief groups for parents and referrals for parent and children to counselors and grief support organiztions 612-813-6622 or 651-220-6474
  • Preemie play and learn: 612-692-1319
  • Pregnancy and Infant Loss: 651-241-6206
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: 612-813-6285, or 1-800-732-3812
  • Sibshops: 612-813-7127


First Steps Program

Trained parent mentors are assigned to teen parents in St. Paul to offer support and community resource referrals. The project is a result of the partnership between The Junior League of St. Paul, the Ramsey Medical Society Alliance, and The Birth Center of United and Children's - St. Paul. For more information, contact Paula Sanan at 651-241-6750.

Immunization Initiative

Children's is a recognized leader in the community and the U.S. for our work to raise childhood immunization rates through collaboration with other community groups. We are working on a computerized immunization registry to help track childhood immunizations. We advertise our "5 B4 2" campaign throughout the community to remind parents that children need five immunization visits before the age of two. For more information, call the Children's Immunization Project at 651-220-6444, or visit us online.

Minnesota Sudden Infant Death Center

The SID Center provides support, education, and research for Minnesotans affected by the loss of an infant to sudden infant death syndrome. For more information, contact the SID Center at 612-813-6285 or 1-800-732-3812, or visit us online.

Minnesota Emergency Medical Services for Children Resource Center

The EMSC is dedicated to improving emergency care for our children through education, system development and research. The center does so by collaborating with family, pediatric, EMS and community organizations. Call 612-813-7749, 1-800-660-7022 or visit the web site at

Parent Starter Kit project

The 3M Foundation, St. Paul/Ramsey County Children's Initiative, and Children's have developed a comprehensive "parent starter kit" that includes information on child health, parenting, and reading for children. The packets are available for new parents in St. Paul. For more information, contact Patsy Stinchfield at 651-220-6136.

Reach Out and Read

Health professionals at Children's no longer just prescribe drugs - they also "prescribe" reading to parents of kids ages 2 weeks to 5 years old. The Reach Out and Read program uses special "reading prescription pads," free books, and volunteer readers to encourage reading. At well-child visits, health professionals work to educate parents on how to read--and how much to read--to their kids. Children receive a free, high-quality, age-appropriate book to take home with them. To make an appointment at the clinic for a well-child visit, call the St. Paul clinic at 651-220-6700 or the Minneapolis clinic at 612-813-6107.

Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Project

This initiative of Children's Hospitals and Clinics, through its Midwest Children's Resource Center, and The Junior League of St. Paul involves training volunteers to speak at schools, correctional facilities, and other gatherings about the dangers of shaking a baby. For more information, call Jane Swenson at 651-220-6703.

Sibshops Program

The Sibling Support Project is a national effort dedicated to the life-long concerns of brothers and sisters of people who have special health, developmental, or mental health concerns. Sibshops is an exciting program just for brothers and sisters (7 to 11 years old) of children with special health care needs. For program information and dates call 612-813-7127. 

Teenage Adolescent Medical Services

Teenage Adolescent Medical Service (TAMS) provides a wide range of outpatient health care services to adolescents in a comfortable, secure setting at 2425 Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis. Services are provided confidentially and regardless of ability to pay. Call 612-813-6125, or visit online.