Children have long been the “forgotten mourners.” At Shepherd’s Cove Hospice, we acknowledge that children are impacted by death and grief far more than many adults realize. Children are often expected to go back to school and resume normal activities after a death, but children need to grieve too. At Shepherd’s Cove Hospice, we aim to support and educate children on the grieving process.


Shepherd’s Cove Hospice serves as a community resource, providing death/dying and grief education to those in our nine-county service area. Shepherd’s Cove Hospice’s Children/Youth Bereavement programs include: individual and family counseling services, support groups and school-based grief support services. 


Shepherd’s Cove Hospice’s Nine County Service Area

The objectives of Shepherd’s Cove Hospice’s Children/Youth Bereavement program are:

  • Provide grief support for individuals as well as support groups;
  • Promote positive education concerning death/dying and grief and the possible effects in the lives of youth; and
  • Promote positive coping skills to decrease negative grief reactions (such as:  school absenteeism, dropping out of school and substance abuse).

Shepherd’s Cove Hospice’s In-School Bereavement Program utilizes a team approach by assessing each grieving student’s unique psychosocial needs related to the death of a person who was significant in their life. Shepherd’s Cove Hospice strives to enable children/youth to obtain skills needed to cope with life’s changes as a result of death.  A licensed social worker typically visits monthly conducting In-School grief support groups which range from 30 to 55 minutes per session.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who qualifies for in-school bereavement services?

Any student who has experienced the death of a significant person and is currently enrolled in Albertville City, Arab City, Boaz City, Guntersville City, Marshall County, Scottsboro City and portions of DeKalb County, Etowah County, and Jackson County school systems, qualifies for the In-School Bereavement Program.

Is there a cost involved?

Shepherd’s Cove Hospice’s school-based bereavement program is offered at no cost to the students who attend thanks to contributions received through United Way funding, grants and private donations.

Who can refer a child to participate in Shepherd’s Cove Hospice’s In-School Bereavement Program?

Anyone can make a referral to the program by contacting Stacey Johnson, LBSW, via email at or by phone (256) 891-7724, or by contacting the student’s school counselor and requesting the child become involved in the program.

How many sessions may a student attend?

Typically, the In-School Bereavement Program begins in September of each year and concludes at the close of each school year.

What is  school-based Camp HOPE?

School-based Camp HOPE is a one-day grief day camp hosted by Shepherd’s Cove Hospice. The day typically begins at 8 a.m. and concludes by 1:30  p.m. The day includes activities centered on grief and loss, interaction with horses, structured play, arts and crafts, music, canoeing, yoga, snacks, and a closing ceremony.

Who can attend school-based Camp HOPE?

Only those students who plan to participate, or are participating, in Shepherd’s Cove Hospice’s In-School Bereavement Program may attend the Camp HOPE session as a field trip.

Can I be a volunteer for Camp HOPE?

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Stacey Johnson, LBSW by phone (256) 891-7724 or via email at

*Community Camp HOPE, for families of children in grief, is offered in addition to the school-based Camp HOPE for the students who participant in the In-School Bereavement Program. Contact Shepherd’s Cove Hospice for more details at 256-891-7724.


This program is funded in part through the a partnership with the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama.