After extensive research, the internationally known Dougy Center of Portland, Oregon, was selected as the model for Suncoast Kids Place.
Suncoast Kids Place is a community service of Bay Hope Church.
We are part of The Dougy Center's National Children's Grief Network.
Member of the National Alliance for Grieving Children.
The mission of the Center is to provide support for children/teens from 3-18 years of age and their families, who have experienced the death of a significant person…as an expression of the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ.
Suncoast Kids Place is founded on the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment. However, our society fails to understand or support the needs of a child and family in grief.
Based on these beliefs, the six principles of Suncoast Kids Place are:
Suncoast Kids Place is committed to providing support for all of these components of the grief process.
We provide peer support groups for children/teens from 3-18 years of age and their families. Participants meet others who also have experienced the death of a significant person in their life. As grief is a lifelong process, we welcome families at any time they are ready to access our services.
Children are grouped together by their age/grade categories.
During the twice a month, 90 minute session, the children participate in “talking time”. This is an activity driven opportunity for the children to discuss grief related topics. Afterwards, they can express their feelings and thoughts through different play activities.
Caregivers are encouraged to attend one of the caregiver groups that meet concurrently with the children’s groups. If not attending group, we require that the caregiver stay on the premises while their children are participating.
All groups are facilitated by professional staff and assisted by trained volunteers. We provide no private therapy or counseling.
We offer these types of groups at the following locations:
How much does it cost?
There is no fee for families to attend groups. We invite families to make a tax-deductible donation or monthly pledge. Any donation is entirely voluntary. No family is ever denied services because they cannot contribute.
1. What is your program for children and teens?
We provide peer support groups for children/teens from 3-18 years of age and their caregivers. We provide no private therapy or counseling. Participants meet others who also have experienced the death of a significant person.
Children are grouped together by age. Sessions are 90 minutes twice a month. Children experience "talking circle" time and can express their feelings and thoughts through play activities.
There are also optional groups for adult caregivers which meet concurrently with the children/teen groups.
Our staff is certified and has extensive experience in death education and counseling and is always available to assist the family outside the group time.
2. How much does it cost?
We do not charge a fee for the peer support group services at Suncoast Kids Place.
3. How long after the death does a family need to wait before calling?
A family can call and start the process for participation as soon as they are ready. We believe each person and family grieves differently, and the family is the best judge of when they are ready to deal with the death.
A family may join the program at any time from just after the loss to years later.
4. How long is a family expected to attend groups?
We believe in the uniqueness of the intensity and duration of grief for each individual and family. Children/teens and their family choose when to start and when to stop attending. When a family is enrolled in a group, we expect regular attendance. A family is expected to call if they must be absent. Continuity of attendance is important to build the peer group into a supportive environment for the grief work.
5. What is the first step for a family considering Suncoast Kids Place?
Call us at 813-990-0216 and speak with someone about our program.
6. Is it required for the caregiver to attend a group?
No, the caregiver groups are optional. We do require that the caregivers remain on the premises for safety reasons.
7. Why does a child need to come to Suncoast Kids Place?
If a child has experienced the death of someone important, they are grieving. Not every child needs therapy, but they all need support – opportunities to discuss the death, ask questions and understand they are not alone in their grief.
Often, because the caregiver is grieving the death also, they are not able to provide the support needed for the child to grieve in a healthy way.
8. Is there a religious component to the program?
No, we are a community service project. Teaching religion is not part of our curriculum.
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