Measuring Our Success

Our program began in 2010, incorporated in 2011, and started with 6 families and 9 children. To-date we have served approximately 250 individuals from 37 towns and counties across Massachusetts. Our support groups are growing monthly, and based upon community need, we are anticipating expanding our programs, services, community reach and engagement.

In addition to increasing the number of people we serve, we are committed to being a national leader in research and have developed a groundbreaking instrument that measures the social and emotional experience of loss for bereaved children.

We are proud that Jeff’s Place will continue to lead the movement of measuring program efficacy through rigorous and ethical research practices.

Our Results

Time at Jeff’s Place:

  • 55% less than one year
  • 45% more than one year

On a scale of 1-10, how well do you feel facilitators were able to meet your needs (1 being not able to meet your needs and 10 being able to highly meet your needs):

  • 0% reported on the scale 0-4
  • 1% reported on the scale 5-7
  • 99% reported on the scale 8-10

Over 90% of surveyed participants reported feeling better after visiting at Jeff’s Place.

Cause of death:

  • 60 % sudden/tragic
  • 37 % terminal illness
  • 3% unknown


What is most helpful?

  • Being able to share worries and concerns, not feeling alone
  • I thought it was just going to help my son, but in fact I have got a lot of comfort coming as well. It’s helpful being around other parents
  • Listening to other’s stories, struggles and knowing that I’m not crazy in how I feel
  • Getting to hear other people’s points of views coming from their situation. Even though it is different, you can always find a way to relate and take something from it
  • Connecting with caring people who understand in a direct way. Jeff’s Place has been wonderful for my daughter and she has assimilated to her grief and situation well
  • My children freely talking about their “special person”

Jenny Kaplan’s Research

Jenny Kaplan, LICSW, Fellow in Thanatology, has worked extensively with bereaved children, teens and families in various settings providing counseling, professional training and education, and crisis intervention regarding issues of grief and loss with youth. She is the author of Young Adults Coping With Death: You Are Not Alone and a Doctoral Candidate at Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston, where she teaches as Adjunct Faculty and participates on multiple research projects related to childhood health. She has presented at state and national conferences on issues related to childhood loss.

We are a national leader in evidence-based research in exploring best practices. Jenny is the Primary Researcher for a national study testing the validity and reliability of the Inventory of Youth Adaptation to Loss (IYAL), which she has been developing since 2012 in collaboration with bereavement groups across the United States and Canada. This is her doctoral work that will culminate in her dissertation, anticipated graduation May 2016. Jeff’s Place will be a sub-licensor of the IYAL and our intention is to create a rigorous research component of our organization.

Why is it Important? Did you know…

  • 1 in 20 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the age of 18
  • In a poll of 1,000 high school juniors and seniors, 90% indicated that they had experienced the death of a loved one
  • One in every 1,500 secondary school students die each year
  • One out of every 20 children aged 15 and younger will suffer the loss of one or both parents. These statistics don’t account for the number of children who love a “parental figure” such as a grandparent or other caregiver
  • 1.5 million children are living in a single-parent household because of the death of one parent
  • Mortality rates for adults in their 40s and 50s in the past two decades have risen dramatically, making it more likely that younger children will experience the death of a parent, or a classmate’s parent. “Kids are encountering death more often and at a younger age- It’s just inevitable,” says Gerald Koocher, chief of psychology at Boston’s Children’s Hospital
  • It is estimated that 73,000 children die every year in the United States. Of those children, 83% have surviving siblings
  • In a study of 11-to-16 year olds, 78% reported that at least one of their close relatives or friends had died
  • Reviews of studied from various countries on childhood bereavement following parental death report that children in this situation do experience a wide range of emotional and behavioral symptoms…The child often experiences an increase in anxiety with a focus on concerns about further loss, the safety of other family members, and fears around separation

Key Results of Childhood Bereavement Study completed by Comfort Zone Camp (2009)

  • 56% of respondents who lost a parent growing up would trade a year of their life for one more day with their departed parent
  • 72% believe their life would have been “much better” if their parent hadn’t died so young
  • 69% of Americans who lost a parent growing up still think about their parent frequently

Grieving in Schools: Nationwide Survey among Classroom Teachers on Childhood Bereavement Conducted by New York Life Foundation and American Federation of Teachers, 2012

  • Classroom teachers report that students who have lost a parent or guardian typically exhibit:
  • Difficulty concentrating in class (87% teacher reported)
  • Withdrawal/ disengagement and less class participation (82% teacher reported)
  • Absenteeism (72% teacher observed)
  • Decrease in quality of work (68% teacher observed)
  • Less reliability in turning in assignments (66% teacher observed)
  • 7 in 10 teachers (69%) currently have at least one student in their class(es) who has lost a parent, guardian, sibling or close friend in the past year

*Statistics pulled from Children’s Grief Awareness Day, “Did you Know? Children and Grief Statistics.” ChildrensGriefAwarenessDay.Com