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11/13/2020 Long overlooked, childhood bereavement is a critical issue and an increasingly important national priority. Based on the 2020 Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM), one in 12 children in Pennsylvania will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. Join the Healing Patch Children’s Grief Program in showing support of these often “forgotten mourners” on Children’s Grief Awareness Day, observed Nov. 19.

Prevalence rates of childhood grief vary across the country. In Cambria County, the CBEM approximates one in 12 children will experience the death of a parent by age 18, ranking it as the second highest prevalence of grieving children out of 67 Pennsylvania counties. In Blair County, the CBEM approximates one in 16 children will experience the death of a parent by age 18, ranking 27th in Pennsylvania. 

“Death of a caregiver or family member left unmanaged or avoided can have a significant negative impact on the child’s ongoing development and mental health,” shares Melody Ray, Healing Patch coordinator. “Grief that is not expressed, validated and managed can put a significant strain on the family system. By acknowledging and supporting grieving families in our community, we can see positive outcomes in the children and families’ coping and resilience. The Healing Patch is a place for the community to learn about how to support these grieving children, as well as a resource for local grieving families to gain connections, support and hope.” 

The Healing Patch began in 2006 as a free program to help grieving children and their families through peer support, education and more. 

“We couldn’t provide the services that we do without the support of our community and the continued dedication of our volunteers,” said Shalen Steinbugl, Healing Patch volunteer coordinator/grief specialist. “Even during these unprecedented times, our volunteers continue to offer support —they are truly the heart of the Healing Patch.” 

Each year, the Healing Patch joins in the observation of Children’s Grief Awareness Day on the third Thursday of November to bring awareness to the unique needs of grieving children. You can get involved on Nov. 19 by wearing blue. Send photos of yourself, family members, co-workers or others wearing blue to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or message the Healing Patch Children’s Grief Program Facebook page. 

Do you interact frequently with a grieving child? Here are some more direct ways you can help:

The Healing Patch is supported in part by the Home Nursing Agency Foundation, the Patched Together Day of Music fundraiser and various other community groups and donations. To learn more about local grief resources or to refer a child/family for services, please contact the Healing Patch at 1-800-445-6262 or visit

About the Healing Patch

The Healing Patch Children’s Grief Program began in 2006 as a free peer support program for children and their families who have suffered the loss of a loved one, such as a parent, sibling, grandparent, or close family member. Since that time, the program has expanded to support children through in-school services, grief resources and other community services. Sharing memories and experiences allows grieving children and families to discover that what they are going through is normal and that hope and healing are possible. The Healing Patch is a free service to the community and relies on individual and community donations, grants and fundraising events for support. If you would like to support the Healing Patch by donating or volunteering, please contact us at 1-800-445-6262 or The Home Nursing Agency Foundation is supported by the United Ways of Bedford County, Blair County, Huntingdon County and the Laurel Highlands.