When a child or young person dies

A parent’s worst nightmare is thinking about their child dying. For families who have a child with cancer, this nightmare sometimes becomes reality. When a child dies, we’re here for families.

Our social workers help in many ways, before a child dies and during bereavement. These can include:

  • Planning ahead for the time families have left with their child, and their death
  • Helping parents deal with the immediate priorities – from letting people know what’s happened, to completing the death certificate
  • Getting a Young Lives vs Cancer Compassionate Grant to help parents with funeral costs, and providing information about other financial help they may be able to get
  • Letting parents know our online information and free booklets they may find comforting and useful, including support for siblings
  • Connecting parents with bereavement organisations who can offer grief counselling and other services
  • Letting parents know about Young Lives vs Cancer Facebook group for bereaved parents – a welcoming, friendly space to share thoughts and feelings, seek advice and get support.

We offer ongoing bereavement support to family and loved ones for up to 18 months. You can chat this through with your social worker or via Live Chat – just click on the ‘Chat to us’ bubble in the right hand corner of the screen. We can also put you in touch with specialist bereavement services who might be closer to home or can offer online/telephone help and support.

Can this help you?

Financial support for bereaved families

As of 23 July 2019 a Children’s Funeral Fund is available in England. The Fund will cover burial and cremation fees and some associated costs. The Fund is mainly for funeral directors to claim from – families should not need to claim from it, unless they are not using a funeral director. Similar funds already exist in Scotland and Wales. 

For anything else that you have to pay for, your Young Lives vs Cancer Social Worker can help you apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment from the government, for support covering some of the costs of your child’s funeral.

Information for bereaved families

The grief you feel before and after your child dies can consume many aspects of your life. We’ve worked with other bereaved parents to create honest, informative and thoughtful articles to help you navigate bereavement – and all that comes with it.

They include what friends can do to help, the impact on your relationship, how it affects siblings, getting through special occasions – and much more. We know it’s different with cancer – and this information has been designed to reflect your reality.

Browse articles about grief and bereavement

Order free booklets

Our sensitive and beautifully designed collection of printed booklets have been written collaboratively with bereaved parents. They are there to help you manage the time before your child’s death, the practicalities afterwards, and how other bereaved parents felt in the weeks, months and years afterwards.

Order free