Welcome to the grief support website. The website aims to assist people facing the death of a baby, young child, adolescent or young adult, and those supporting them.

In today's society the death of a child is considered against the natural life cycle. Trauma and illness are the common causes of death in childhood1 and the grief experience is profound for the child's family, friends and community.

From the time a child is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness each family member experiences feelings of loss and grief – the child, parents, brothers or sisters, grandparents and extended family. In addition to struggling with the meaning of the diagnosis and the many changes this brings, families experience the loss of hopes and dreams for the future. This is often described as 'early grief', 'anticipatory grief' or 'pre-emptive grief'. It's important to understand that this is a normal part of living with a child with a life-limiting illness. Feelings of grief can surface at any time and it may be helpful to understand how different people express their feelings of loss.

When a child dies it is deeply distressing for parents and families. If they have died suddenly by accident, murder or suicide, the grief can be more difficult and complicated. The special circumstances associated with sudden death often include emergency services, the police, safety investigators, the health system, and the justice and court system.


The website was developed by the Paediatric Palliative Care Service
 of the Women's and Children's Hospital, South Australia.

We gratefully acknowedge the funding support provided by the
Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Queries or feedback

If you have any queries or feedback about the content of the grief support web pages, please contact us via the following email address:


1 ABS, 2006

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