Expanded Service Helps More Grieving Families

SA Gov

Vital support has been extended for hundreds of bereaved families who’ve lost children, thanks to a major funding boost from the Malinauskas Labor Government to Red Tree Foundation, an initiative of SIDS and Kids SA.

The State Government committed $800,000 over four years in 2022 to SIDS and Kids SA to expand its Red Tree Foundation grief counselling service.

The funding has allowed the organisation to offer much-needed support to families affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a child aged up to 17 years. Previously the age limit was 6 years, leaving many parents and families experiencing unimaginable grief without the support they need.

Hundreds more counselling sessions are now being offered to bereaved family members, with counsellor hours increased and community support groups expanded.

The families experiencing grief from the sudden, tragic loss of 316 babies, children and teens have been referred to Red Tree Foundation between 1 July 2022 and 31 March 2024.

Last year alone, Red Tree Foundation was able to offer 2099 counselling sessions, a 73 per cent increase on the 1210 sessions provided in 2020.

In addition, the funding now allows the organisation to provide support to wider family units – including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends of affected families through organised community support groups, dinners and community events.

Red Tree Foundation aims to contact newly bereaved families within 72 hours of referral, providing counselling and support through home visits, telephone calls, telehealth, in-office and off-site visits.

Additionally, the not-for-profit organisation provides education, training and information about grief and loss, with the aim of promoting compassion and understanding around the loss of a baby, child or teen.

The majority of referrals come from SA Health hospitals, but families can also self-refer or be guided to the service through other organisations such as SAPOL.

As put by Chris Picton

The sudden and unexpected loss of a child is unimaginable and my heart breaks for any family going through this.

It is incredibly important for families to be able to access bereavement counselling without delay and I’m proud that our Government is helping many more families receive the support they need.

SIDS and Kids SA and Red Tree Foundation do such critical work and I thank their counsellors for their compassion and understanding in helping so many South Australian families.

As put by Red Tree Foundation CEO Liza Jankowski

We’re so proud that we can now offer free bereavement support to any parent who is affected by the sudden death of a child, from conception to 17 years of age.

The response to the expanded services has been phenomenal. The additional funding has allowed us to help even more families, ensuring that support is always available for those who seek it.

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