What to expect from STARS

Initially your child has an assessment with a bereavement counsellor and together we decide if support from STARS may help your child in their grieving. You will be asked to complete a consent form. On occasions we may support children 14+ without consent. This only happens if we consider that a young person is competent to make that decision.

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What happens next?

Once we have allocated someone to support your child, they will make contact to arrange the first session, usually by telephone. The supporter or counsellor may be a volunteer. All our staff work to professional standards, whether paid or voluntary and are trained to support bereaved children and young people, have full CRB checks , and are properly supervised and managed.

What to expect

  • The aim of our support is to help your child find ways of coping with their grief.
  • Expressing grief can be difficult and sometimes children will express their grief through behaviour.
  •  Their behaviour may seem worse before they learn ways of coping.
  • Let their supporter know if this is happening.
  • Sometimes we find that other life events are affecting their behaviour.

The support we offer is based on developing a trusting relationship. Children, like adults, need to feel that they can express themselves freely. It is important to remember that some children find it easier to express themselves with someone who is not part of their family because they may feel protective towards their family and don't want to upset them. One of the aims of the work is to help children and young people to communicate more with their family about their loss. However, we would be grateful if you could support your child by:

  • Allowing them to tell you about their sessions if they choose to.
  • Not asking the supporter what your child has said or discussed during the sessions
There are limits to our confidentiality

These will have been explained to your child and wherever possible to you in person. However, to briefly recap :

  • If your supporter believes your child is at risk of harming themselves or other people, they will need to get extra help. This may involve contacting their doctor or other professional. Where possible, they will let you know who they need to contact.
  • If your child tells us about a child who is being abused or who is at risk of significant harm, we cannot keep this to ourselves. We believe that all children have a right to be protected against abuse.
Record keeping

STARS endorse a minimum note keeping policy and all notes and records are kept in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Your child’s supporter will discuss this further with you. You and your child have a right to access these notes however we do require four weeks written notice for this.

How many times will my child be seen?

This varies for each child and is something that your supporter will discuss and agree with you. They will also let you know if they feel your child might benefit from a referral to a different service.

Group support

We have had a great success where bereaved children have been brought together. Children are encouraged to express themselves in creative ways and through working together they gain a greater understanding of grief. You or your supporter may feel that your child may benefit from meeting other bereaved children. We run groups when we have enough children to join a group, and when resources allow. Please ask about groups if your child is interested in meeting other bereaved children.