It is a shocking and sad fact that many families do not receive any professional support in the immediate aftermath of the sudden death of their child.
Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice’s award-winning sudden death in childhood (SUDIC) service is the first of its kind in the UK, providing dedicated support to devastated families in the days, weeks and months after a child dies.
Now the team at Huddersfield-based Forget Me Not will be working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police to ensure more families receive this vital support.
Around 70 children under 18 die suddenly and unexpectedly in West Yorkshire each year. Left on their own to deal with the various agencies involved, such as the police, hospital or coroner’s office, families’ experiences in the days and weeks after their child dies can cause lasting and grievous damage to their health and wellbeing.
Forget Me Not’s partnership with West Yorkshire Police will mean that every family in need will be made aware that support is available to them.
And Forget Me Not’s team will also collaborate with the police, working together to develop skills, exchange knowledge and understanding so that police officers can best support families in the immediate aftermath of a child’s death.
Stacey John, family support team leader
Luen Thompson, chief executive at Forget Me Not, said: “This partnership with West Yorkshire Police is a hugely significant and important step for this vital service and will make a real difference to local families devastated by the sudden death of their child.
“Our ambition is that every family who finds themselves in these tragic circumstances in West Yorkshire is offered our support.
“We also hope, through our collaboration with West Yorkshire Police, that we can help police officers who face dealing with vulnerable families in these tragic circumstances feel more confident about how best to support them.
“Often police officers are the first professionals to come into contact with these families – and as that first touchpoint, they play a critical role in the experience families have in the immediate aftermath of their child’s death, something that has a real impact on how those families deal with their trauma and grief in the longer term.
“By working together, we can make sure many more families get the help and support they need right when it matters the most.”
Det Supt Marc Bowes, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “West Yorkshire Police is pleased to work in partnership with Forget Me Not.
“The sudden death of a child is harrowing for all concerned, so it is invaluable to be able to call upon a dedicated organisation like Forget Me Not who can be there to help families when they are most in need.”
For more information about Forget Me Not’s SUDIC service, see https://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/help-for-families/how-we-help/our-services/sudden-child-bereavement