The Family-to-Family program is designed to match parent volunteers with newly bereaved parents to offer them emotional support.
Why it’s important
When a child dies, the grief that follows can be intense and devastating. As much as family and friends want to understand, it may be difficult for them to grasp the enormity of this life-changing event. It is often helpful for parents to talk to other bereaved parents who are further along in their grief process in order to learn that their reactions are normal and expected. This connection can offer hope in the midst of the despair that is often present after the death of a child.
How it works
Family-to-Family volunteers are specially trained and must make a two-year commitment to the program. Matches are made based on the several criteria, including: age of child at death, circumstances of child’s death, surviving siblings, decision to withdraw life support (if applicable) and family/cultural issues. When parents request a match, they can indicate which criteria are most important to them. Once the match is made, the expectation is that the volunteer will be in contact with the parent for a minimum of one year. The volunteer and the parent agree upon the amount of contact that the parent has with his or her volunteer.
Types of contact between parents and volunteers include: