The Compassionate Friends By: Hope Bartlow Sharon Hollis Helen Nichols Self-Help Support Group for Families After a Child Dies
Agenda Hope Philosophy of the self-help support system. Target population(s) served. The functions of the self-help support system. Sharon How the system interfaces with other programs or agencies. The role (if any) of human services workers at the support system. How and by whom the services of the support system are evaluated. Helen Recent outcomes of the support system's services. How the services of the support service could be improved
Philosophy and Target Group
The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive
Functions of The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends was established in 1969 based upon seven principles. The principles are reviewed and minor wording changes have been made from time to time, but they continue to stand the test of time.
These seven principles represent the functions of this support group
The Seven Principles:
TCF offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.
TCF believes that bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents can help each other toward a positive resolution of grief.
TCF reaches out across society's barriers to all bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.
TCF understands that every members has individual needs and rights.
TCF reaches out to the bereaved primarily through our community of local chapters.
TCF chapters belong to their members.
TCF chapters are coordinated nationally to extend help to each other, and to bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents everywhere.
Interface with Other Programs and Agencies
AARP - American Association of Retired People Grief and Loss program
ACCESS - Aircraft Casualty Emotional Support Service
AFSP - American Foundation for Suicide prevention
BPUSA - Bereaved Parents of the USA
Center for Loss in Multiple Births
Comfort Zone Camp
Good Grief Resources
GROWW - Grief Recovery Online
Hospice Foundation of America
MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Drivers
National SIDS Resource Center
NFDA – National Funeral Director’s Association
NILMDTS - Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation
POMC - Parents Of Murdered Children
SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
SIDS Network - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Network
SOS - Survivors of Suicide
SUDC - Sudden Unexplained Death In Childhood
TAPS - Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
TLC - National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children
*see handout of organization details TCF’s website provides links to the following national nonprofit organizations with missions similar to TCF:
Role of HS Workers at TCF: Referral Only
TCF recommends a combination of counseling and support groups for healing.
Counseling can normalize the intense feelings of guilt (real or imagined), depression, loneliness, anger, desperation, and suicidal feelings.
TCF, as a peer-to-peer support organization, creates a safe environment for expressing grief, offering friendship, understanding, and hope.
Bereaved family find comfort in talking to others who have shared the same experience.
Bereaved parents, grandparents, or siblings lead the groups.
Meetings are restricted to those who have suffered the loss of a child. However, regional and national conferences are open to all.
How TCF Services are Evaluated
Seal of Excellence by Independent Charities of America (ICA)
Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability (see handout of 20 BBB Governance and Oversight criteria)
TCF’s national organization has a small office staff of 6 full-time and 3 part-time persons coordinating support and reporting services
Recent Outcomes of this Support System
Annual National Conference
“ It was very powerful to be in a place where so many people understood what you’re going through”
Regular communication from National Headquarters
Give and take interaction with other bereaved parents from all over USA.
‘ I learned that I was not alone’ Compassionate Friends offers help for overcoming grief
Recent Outcomes of this Support System
Local Support Groups
“ are a haven for members to talk about their children who have died, emotions they are going through, thoughtless comments made to them and their feelings of sadness, guilt or anger."
“ The father of a student who died in the 2008 shootings at Northern Illinois University will lead a new support group for parents who have lost children.”
Worldwide Candle Lighting December 13, 2009
Local Chapters gather to light candles for 1 hour at 7:00 pm
A wave of candle lighting is carried across the world through many times zones
Twenty-four countries reported candle lighting services in 2008
Ways to improve this group
While the Bay Area has 3 local groups, 625 groups nationwide is not sufficient to meet the need
Greater interaction and education to the human services professionals on counseling strategies
No negative outcomes were found regarding this group in my internet search
Better Business Bureau (2009). BBB Standards for Trust . Retrieved August 18, 2009, from http://www.bbb.org/us/bbb-standards-for-trust/
Independent Charities of America (2009). The Home of America’s Best Charities . Retrieved August 18, 2009, from http://www.independentcharities.org
The Compassionate Friends (2009). Grief support after the death of a child . Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http:// www.compassionatefriends.org /