Children & Teen Grief Support FAQs

Children Grief Support Group Questions & Answers

What services do you offer for children and adolescents?

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center offers three services for children and teens:

  • In-House grief support groups meet at our West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills centers every other week for children ages 4.5-18 who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or someone close in the last two years. Groups are organized by the age of the child. All adults who accompany children and children ages 5 and older must be fully vaccinated to participate in the program. Virtual groups will be offered based on need in the community and available staffing.
  • Free ten-week grief support groups meet at public elementary, middle, and high school campuses throughout Greater Los Angeles during the school day for children who have experienced the death of a family member or close friend in the last three years.
  • Camp Erin Los Angeles is a free overnight bereavement camp weekends that take place two times each summer for children, ages 6-17, who are grieving the death of someone close in the last three years.

When can a child start a group?

  • Children and teens can join an In-House group between three months to two years following the death of a parent, sibling, or someone close.
  • School-based groups are offered to children approximately two months to three years after the death of a family member or close friend.
  • Camp Erin is offered to children and teens who have experienced the death of a significant family member or close friend. The death must have occurred at least three months before and within three years of the start date of the camp session they wish to attend.

Where are your groups located and when do they take place?

  • In-House groups for children and teens meet at our West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills centers. The groups meet Monday through Thursday between 5:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. depending on the age of the group members.
  • School-based groups meet at public schools in LA County during the school day. Click here to see a current list of participating schools. This list may vary annually.

What is your Covid vaccine policy?

  • All adults who accompany children and children ages 5 and older must be fully vaccinated to participate in the children’s program.

Why do In-house grief support groups meet every other week?

  • The emotional content of each group meeting may take time to process.
  • Families’ schedules may not allow for a weekly commitment to attend groups regularly.
  • Since many grieving children live in single-parent families, it can be hard to get transportation to group. Meeting every other week is easier on the family.

Why is there a three-month waiting period before a child can join a grief support group?

We wait three months after the death before meeting with families to assess whether a child’s needs can be met in a grief support group. It takes varying lengths of time for children to understand and integrate a death based on their age, developmental level, and life experience. Many children need more than three months before they are ready to begin a group. Part of participating in a grief support group is to offer support to others as well as to receive support. It can take time following a death to be ready to support others.

Do I need to be present while my child attends group?

If your child is age 4.5-11, you must be present in the lobby while your child is in group. Children at times will want to check in with a parent for comfort, to ask a question, or for help to the restroom. For security purposes, children 12 and older must be dropped off and picked up in the lobby, not outside the building.  

Who facilitates your groups?

OUR HOUSE grief support groups are co-led by highly trained and supervised volunteer group leaders. We utilize a non-disclosure model for our group leaders, meaning that they do not share their grief history or other personal information with group members.

What are the fees for attending group?

As a non-profit agency, our services are offered on a sliding scale. The suggested fee for the Pre-Group Appointment is $65, and the suggested fee for each group meeting is $35; we can slide down to $1 for each service. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card. Private health insurance plans, Medicare, and Medi-Cal do not cover our services.

What are your policies on group attendance?

OUR HOUSE support groups are small, closed groups which rely on all members attending on a regular basis.

  • When someone makes the commitment to join a group, we request that they are present for all sessions to both give and receive support.
  • We understand that from time to time a group member will need to miss a group meeting; we ask that they or a caregiver let OUR HOUSE know of their upcoming absence in advance.
  • Group participants agree to refrain from using alcohol and recreational drugs prior to attending group meetings.
  • Group leaders respect the confidentiality of the children in their group with three exceptions: danger to self, danger to others, and child abuse or neglect. Parent/Guardians are informed that when these exceptions to confidentiality occur steps must be taken to ensure the safety of the child.

What is the process for getting into a children and teen grief support group?

  1. Complete this Services Inquiry Form and a clinician will call you within two business days. You may also call OUR HOUSE from 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday at (310) 473-1511 or toll free (888) 417-1444 to speak directly with a clinician.
  2. The clinician will be able to answer questions about our services and schedule a Pre-Group Appointment (PGA).
  3. After the PGA, if it is determined that a group is the right fit, the potential group member will be offered a spot in the next available group. Wait time varies based upon the number of people within the same age range ready to join a group at any given time or the expected end date of other children in an existing group.

Why does a child and family need to come in for Pre-Group Appointment before joining a group?

This appointment offers the OUR HOUSE Clinical team an opportunity to assess whether the child is emotionally ready to participate in a support group and to prepare the child to share their story with the other members of the group. In addition, it will be determined whether the child can tolerate hearing and supporting other children who are talking about the deaths that they have experienced.

What should I say to someone when their loved one has died?

Please see our What to Say, What to Do? information page.
For additional support materials, please review our library of Grief Pages.

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