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The Numbers

2 out of 3 kids will experience a traumatic loss during childhood:

•   Death of a parent or sibling 1 in 14

•   Breakup of parents’ marriage 1 in 4

•   Incarceration of a parent or guardian 1 in 12

•   Parent with substance use disorder 1 in 8

•   Parent deployed 1 in 40

•   Classroom with at least one grieving student 7 in 10


An estimated 1 in 14, or 5.2 million, children in the U.S. will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they reach the age of 18. By age 25, this number more than doubles to 13.2 million. Judi’s House/JAG Institute partnered with the New York Life Foundation to help support grieving children and families by creating the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM).


CBEM approximates rates of U.S. children and youth who will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they reach adulthood. Results from the CBEM are updated annually using national, state, and regional vital statistics. Except where noted, this report uses data from 2014-2018 in an enhanced framework to present projected CBEM results.


For more specific information relating to CT:



Check out what children and teenagers have to say


Judi’s House/JAG Institute CBEM


When asked what the most helpful things were after the death of their family member:

59% said spending time with friends.

54% said that their friends were very helpful and supportive after the death;

49% said that their friends treated them just like they always had.

52% said that talking to their friends about the death of their family member is hard.


Grief Reactions

46% cannot believe it is true.

75% say the pervading emotion they currently feel is sadness, with feeling angry, alone, overwhelmed and worried being top other emotions.

39% have trouble sleeping.

45% said they have more trouble concentrating on school work.

41% said that they have acted in ways that they knew might not be good for them, either physically, mentally or emotionally.

34% indicated they said hurtful things to others after the death.

47% believe their life will be harder than it will be for other people.

73% said that they think about their loved one every day.


Grieving Children and Teenagers Want Others to Know

46% - that if you haven’t had a family member die, you don’t know how they feel.


Grieving Children and Teenagers Agree

71% - that you never stop missing the people you love who die.

68% - that the death of their family member was the worst thing that ever happened to them.

60% - that most people don’t understand what it is like to have a family member die when you are young.


Remembering and Honoring the Person Who Died

53% by remembering and telling stories about the good times they had together.


What Children and Teenagers Have Learned Through Grief

The top two things children said the death of their family member has taught them is

1) How important my family is to me (78%) and

2) Life is not fair (72%)

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