Overview of the key highlights from the journey of the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network over the past 10 years
In May 2011, the first children’s bereavement forum hosted by Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) took place in Dublin with representatives from 19 organisations (hospitals, hospices, clinical psychology teams, peer support groups, dedicated children’s services, and voluntary bereavement groups). Included in the agenda was a presentation by Brid Carroll of her survey of children’s bereavement services across Ireland which demonstrated a range of issues and a willingness to share experiences and support of each other. The consensus following the forum was to complete a scoping framework to establish a dedicated childhood bereavement network.
2012 – Scoping study exploring the need and feasibility for ICBN commissioned by IHF
2013 – ICBN becomes operational under governance of IHF, with part-funding from Child and Family Agency (now TUSLA) and launches first website. Part time coordinator recruited.
2014 – First national conference and launch of ICBN bereavement care pyramid by the Minster for Health (Dr. James Reilly)
2015 – First round of regional workshops, launch of ‘listen with eyes, ears and heart’ animation for schools and first events to mark bereaved children’s awareness day.
2016 – National conference to share development of standards and to kick start consultation process. Coordinators post vacant.
2017 – National Conference ‘supporting children bereaved by homicide’ (Atle Dyregrov – University of Bergen Norway), Beaumont Hospital master class (Sir Al Green – UK Ombudsman for children) and the launch of the ICBN standards by the Irish Ombudsman for children (Dr. Niall Muldoon). New national coordinator in post from June (p/t).
2018 – Launch of the new ICBN website, delivery of teacher training module with 3rd level leads and national conference demonstrating the standards in practice.
2019 – Second round of regional workshops, national event ‘mind the gap’ children’s centred showcase and art exhibition in collaboration with Barnardos Children’s Bereavement service.
2020 – Pandemic moved work 100% online which led to major expansion of the range of workshops offered (delivered 16 online outreach sessions) and developed the children’s content for the ‘Covid care and inform’ series.
2021 – Developed new animations and multimedia resources for the website, delivered 20 inputs on childhood bereavement and contributed to HSE, NOSP and Spun-out bereavement campaigns. Deliver 4 webinars for bereaved children’s awareness campaign.
2022 – Bereaved children’s awareness campaign expanded to cover the last quarter of the year with wide range of workshops and events (6 webinars). National survey launched to obtain an up-to-date insight in the childhood bereavement sector. Contributions and inputs to external stakeholders (15) and representation on project team of HSE winter planning group and NOSP children and suicide project. Part time network officer recruited.