WHAT IS THE RESILIENT PARENTING FOR BEREAVED FAMILIES PROGRAM?
The Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families (RPBF) Program is a 10-session group program for caregivers of children who have experienced the death of a parent. While each family’s grief journey is unique, our research has shown that resilience in caregivers and children can be promoted by:
- Teaching practical tools to build family bonds
- Creating a warm, supportive group environment for learning and practicing the tools
- Helping caregivers to develop five key building blocks of resilience in their family (which our research has shown helps lead to long-term positive development for children!)
HOW DOES THE RESILIENT PARENTING FOR BEREAVED FAMILIES PROGRAM (RPBF) WORK?
Surviving parents and caregivers are the most powerful resource for helping bereaved children to cope following the death of their parent. Our program teaches practical parenting and self-care tools that have been shown to promote resilience for both children and caregivers.
HOW DO WE KNOW THE PROGRAM WORKS?
The RPBF is based on the most extensively evaluated program for parentally bereaved children, the Family Bereavement Program. We tested the program in a randomized trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and followed families up to 15 years later.
As compared with families who did not participate in the program those who did experienced the following benefits:
- Lower levels of distressing grief
- Lower levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts/attempts
- Lower use of mental health services and psychiatric medication
- Higher levels of self-esteem
Benefits for bereaved parents also lasted up to 15 years after the program:
- Higher quality of positive parenting
- Higher efficacy of coping with stress
- Lower rates of complicated grief
- Lower levels of depression
- Lower rates of alcohol abuse
HOW CAN I BEGIN USING THE RESILIENT PARENTING FOR BEREAVED FAMILIES PROGRAM?
The program is now available for use by providers who are serving parentally-bereaved families in communities across the United States and internationally. We have developed a comprehensive training program that includes providing supervision for new leaders as they deliver the program for the first time. We support you every step of the way in becoming an outstanding leader. The training program includes a website for leaders that provides everything you need to deliver the program and a supervisor who helps you prepare for each session. After successfully delivering the program, you will be certified to lead the program independently for three years. There is also a parent website and parent handbook that provide tips on how to use all program tools.
We gratefully acknowledge the National Institute of Mental Health which supported the research on the Family Bereavement Program. We also gratefully acknowledge the New York Life Foundation which supported the translation of the program from a university based research program into a sustainable community-based service, the Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families Program. We also acknowledge the collaboration of providers and parents at The New Song Center (Phoenix), Circle of Care (Oakland), Uplift (Philadelphia), and Good Grief (New Jersey) in translating the program into a practical, feasible and sustainable community service.