Economic Case for Action

Each year thousands of American families face long-term psychological, spiritual, social and often physical and occupational hardships following the loss of a child. These hardships can pervade every aspect of life, creating formidable, and in many cases insurmountable, challenges for parents, families and caregivers. Yet, we know little about the economic implications of such a loss. 

Some research indicates that bereaved families are more likely to earn fewer wages in the years following the death of a child. While another recent study found that 63 percent of employers only offered three days of bereavement leave in the death of a child; not enough to time to plan a funeral. 

As personal wellbeing and economic security are key drivers for family solvency and stability, we should better understand questions such as: what is the toll of lost wages on a family? what are the economic costs for an employer? what are the economic ramifications on our nation's competitiveness in a global economy? 

Recommendation One: EVERMORE should partner with an economic institution or center for economic excellence to determine the economic toll the death of a child has on a family, community, employer, and our nation. 



National Institutes of Health

With an annual budget exceeding $30 billion, the National Institutes of Health "seeks to enhance the health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability." Few dollars, if any, are invested to tailor programs and support models for families following the death of a child, at any age and from any cause.

Today, few studies document the implications and best practice support models for helping a family cope and stabilize their grief following the death of a child; this is especially true of minority communities. Support models for families who lose a child to homicide, for example, may look notably different than support systems established to support a family who has experienced a stillbirth, or death from war, or from a natural disaster and so forth.

Recommendation Two: The National Institutes of Health should create a blueprint to prioritize and appropriate funding support across institutes to examine the implications child death on a parent, sibling, or family, as well as determine what best practice supportive models or programs should be established to help families cope with the emotional hardships following the death of a child; an emphasis should be placed on high-needs families, families living in high-crime areas, and families living in rural America. 

Recommendation Three: The National Institutes of Health should create an interdisciplinary committee to examine cross-agency priorities and spending collaboratives in order to maintain a coordinated research agenda.