Children (4-12 years)
A one day-camp for siblings who have experienced the death of a sibling. This day focuses on teaching some coping skills and to allow children to be with others who have suffered the loss of a sibling. The day is made up of coping activities, play, and at least one creative project.
Children who have attended Hope Camp all express that they thought they were the only ones who had experienced the death of a sibling. They bond fairly quickly after discovering they aren't alone; that there are other children who feel like they do and have had similar experiences.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Angel Eyes is the only statewide organization in Colorado offering short and long term professional bereavement counseling to families whose lives have been impacted by the sudden, unexpected death of their child, including miscarriage and stillbirth loss. When a child dies, parents feel a part of them has died, that a vital and core part of them has been ripped away. The grief caused by their child's death is not only painful but profoundly disorienting - children are not supposed to die. Experts repeatedly state that dealing with parental grief involves deep pain and ongoing work as the parents attempt to continue their "journey down the lonely road of grief" (Wisconsin Perspectives Newsletter, February 1997, 1). Angel Eyes offers free, professional and compassionate bereavement support services to help families and others through this very painful, life changing time. We understand that parents, their loved ones and care providers have very special needs at this time and do not want anyone to go through the death of their infant or toddler alone. Angel Eyes helps connect these families with others who understand their feelings because they have walked the same path.
Goals for the Bereavement Counseling and Support Services Program:
• Provide every Colorado family referred to Angel Eyes who has experienced the sudden, unexpected death of an infant or toddler or pregnancy loss with a personal contact, along with informational packets containing appropriate literature regarding the death and bereavement issues.
• Provide professional case management, information and support services in a culturally competent and linguistically appropriate manner to those affected by sudden, unexpected infant or toddler death throughout the next two years following the death, and longer if needed.
• Facilitate 150 professional counseling sessions for individuals, couples, children, and families.
• Utilize initial intake process to 100% of the families actively seeking direct services from Angel Eyes.
The Bereavement Counselor is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the Bereavement Counseling Program. We customize our services to each family based on their individual circumstances. Immediate contact with the family along with bereavement literature allows the family to discuss their concerns and counter grief reactions such as guilt and self-blame. Providing proactive care can facilitate mutual support and encourage family communication as well as give the family grief resources they can use in the future. Caring strategies implemented by a professional Bereavement Counselor help families learn to live with their loss and become transformed in positive ways.
The process that we utilize for our bereavement services:
1. Initial contact with families:
a. As soon as Angel Eyes is notified of an infant or toddler death and the case has been verified with the appropriate coroner, a phone call (usually by the Bereavement Counselor) is placed to the family. Sometimes additional phone calls are necessary; these may include the childcare provider, extended family, friends, place of employment, etc.
i. During this initial contact, we:
• Offer personal condolences, support and information about Angel Eyes services.
• Encourage individuals to express their feelings and concerns, as well as ask any questions they may have.
• Explain our bereavement services:
- Therapeutic Bereavement Counseling
- Monthly Grief Support Group
- Translator services (when appropriate)
• Offer referrals:
- Funeral and burial services
- Public Health Nurse (when available)
- Peer support
- Social service agencies
- Community agencies
b. Prepare letter and bereavement materials and send to appropriate parties.
2. Case management
a. Every death reported to Angel Eyes is assigned a unique case number.
b. Data, tracked by year, is maintained in a spreadsheet.
c. Family contact information is entered into the Angel Eyes database.
d. Family information summary is filled out for each case and kept in the file.
e. Case review conducted by staff to determine course of action for each case.
f. Contact sheets as well as copies of any letters and/or emails to the family are kept within the case file and every contact is recorded in the family contact database.
g. Index cards with anniversaries (3 months after date of death (DOD), 6 months after DOD, 1 year date of birth (DOB), 1 year DOD, and 2 year DOB) are created.
h. All case files are kept in locked cabinets.
3. Follow-up Services
a. Phone calls are made to the family to address additional questions and concerns, as well as establish an ongoing relationship with the family.
b. Short-term, individual grief counseling (12 sessions) for adults and/or children offered.
c. Letter and phone call to family on anniversary dates (3 months after DOD, 6 months after DOD, 1 year DOB, 1 year DOD and 2 year DOB). Additional literature is included when needed.
d. Monthly announcements about the Grief Support Group and other Angel Eyes events.
e. Monthly Grief Support Group.
f. Angel Eyes HOPE Camp for grieving siblings.
Angel Eyes provides bereavement services to anyone, regardless of age, socioeconomic status or race/ethnicity, who has been impacted by the sudden, unexpected death of an infant or toddler, including miscarriage and stillbirth loss throughout the state of Colorado. The only exception being cases where there is parental involvement in the criminal justice system (e.g., homicides, assault, criminal neglect) as a result of the death.
"When you go through something as traumatic as losing your child, everything you once knew or thought is gone and you don't know how to find your way again. Angel Eyes was our way of trying to find ourselves again - trying to figure out this new normal while dealing with the loss of our son Ryder. We can honestly say, we don't know where we would be or how we would have gotten through the events of this year without Angel Eyes' guidance." - Abby and Ryan
Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Angel Eyes delivers free educational presentations to various groups in the community, to promote safe sleep practices for parents and caregivers, to provide safe sleep practices to unwed teen mothers and to provide information for those providing after-care to families who have lost a child.
Angel Eyes offers two different educational presentations. One that is titled "Infant Sleep Safety: Understanding Risks and Exploring Safety Measures," which presents 'Safe to Sleep' information and guidelines put forth by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is important for anyone who cares for an infant to understand how to create a safe sleep environment. Audiences for this presentation include potential and new parents, caregivers, and child care providers. The second presentation is titled "Sudden Infant Death: How to Respond," which focuses on grief support and trauma-informed care-based information for those who provide after-care for families who have lost a child. This presentation is critical for first responders, particularly victim advocates, to understand how to interact with a family immediately following the death of their child and during the scene investigation. Audiences for this presentation include: police, EMTs/paramedics, victim advocates, and funeral home staff.
Angel Eyes is repeatedly asked back to do presentations and has never received an evaluation less than a 'Good", with most being graded as "Excellent". All evaluations are kept in a file in the office.