Interview - Di Stubbs
Monday, October 20, 2014
Network Development Officer, Childhood Bereavement Network
What are the aims of the Plan If campaign?
The Plan If campaign is aimed at encouraging all parents to put in place the practical and personal things that would make a difference to their families if they should die before their children have grown up.
We know from listening to bereaved children that security and stability are really important after a parent dies. For instance, being able to go to the same nursery with the same friends can help them feel a little safer in a suddenly bewildering and altered world.
What do you think are the most important plans that parents should make?
For children to be safe and secure after a parent has died, the key practical things would be appointing guardians (in our survey, half of parents had not done so), thinking about a will (only a quarter of the parents in our survey had an up-to-date one) and having some insurance in place to cover the costs of a mortgage or other living costs.
Personal things would become increasingly important as the child grows older - for example, a letter from the parent.
How do you encourage parents of young children to put measures in place, when thinking about death is still something of a taboo subject?
We know this is really hard to think about, but a parent of dependent children dies every 22 minutes in the UK. That means that about 111 children and young people are bereaved every day. Many parents think that they will be able to sort things out when they are older, or if they became ill. Yet in reality, one in four deaths of parents of dependent children is unexpected (car collisions, heart attack or other accidents).
We hope we have made creating a Plan If sufficiently straightforward and matter of fact by breaking the items down into things that can be done This Week, This Month and This Year. And once it's done, you can get on and enjoy life!
What other support does the Childhood Bereavement Network offer families?
It is the hub for all the UK groups offering support to bereaved children, young people and their families. Our website has a searchable directory so people can find the nearest service.
Local services offer one-to-one support for bereaved children, group support, training for professionals such as nursery staff and childminders and a wide range of resources, some tailored to the under-fives. Some services run special programmes for children in the early years and national helplines can offer guidance to anyone supporting a bereaved child.