One out of 20 children under age 15 has lost a parent and almost 50 percent of children have been part of a family where their parents have divorced. Children who have experienced such traumatic loss have an increased risk for substance abuse, clinical depression and other emotional and behavioral problems. Barr-Harris Children's Grief Center, a Chicago-based nonprofit, provides therapeutic programming for children who are grieving or who have experienced trauma or violence.
Annually, Barr-Harris provides over 2,300 hours of counseling to more than 400 children. The a majority of those children come from low-income households and don't have health insurance or the means to pay for services. In addition to providing one-on-one counseling for children, Barr-Harris also provides community workshops for parents, school and health professionals to help children process loss and trauma. Workshops cover topics like sibling loss, dealing with a divorce or witnessed violence, and the child bereavement process.
Barr-Harris has seen an increase in the need for their services over the past several years, especially among children who have witnessed violent or traumatic situations. The need is increasingly challenging as the number of low-income individuals has grown. Almost 70 percent of children served by Barr-Harris come from households that pay ten dollars or less per counseling session.
Since 2004, the Efroymson Family Fund has been a consistent supporter of the Barr-Harris Children's Grief Center and their work to provide safe and supportive environments for youth that are grieving and dealing with loss or trauma.