The Family Program

The Cove specializes in helping children and adolescents who are grieving the death of a significant person in their lives. The Cove offers child-focused peer support groups through a twenty session thematic program delivered under the direction of licensed professionals and trained volunteers.

During these two hour, twice-monthly sessions, grieving children learn healing and coping strategies and creative communication that help validate their feelings and guide them towards transforming their unresolved grief.  

Children's experience, as well as their understanding and perception of the future, often does not incorporate the coping skills required to heal from loss. The result can be emotional and behavioral problems not easily recognized as grief by family, friends, and professionals.

In The Cove Family Program, families learn coping strategies to increase resilience in new ways with peer support and professional facilitation, while honoring the memory of a loved one who has died. 


Frequently Asked Questions

The Cove has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions asked regarding the topic "About the Cove."  If you would like to see additional questions answered on this site or if you seek additional information on a topic discussed here, please call us at: (203) 634-0500. 

Q: What is the purpose of The Cove? 

A: The Cove is a safe place for kids to come together with other grieving kids to share their stories and their feelings. But The Cove is not simply a program for kids.  Since children grieve best in a knowledgeable, caring family environment, it is important that parents and siblings learn about grieving kids and how to help them cope.  That’s why The Cove is a program for the entire family. 

Q: How does it work? 

A: Twice each month, families grieving the death of an immediate family member gather for a two-hour session.  After a brief welcome and opening ceremony, children go into age-appropriate sessions led by trained volunteer facilitators.  They complete an activity, draw, paint, play a game or perform an exercise designed to stimulate discussion about their loss. 

Meanwhile, adult family members gather in a separate room to learn about children and grief and to discuss issues of parenting a bereaved family. This session is run by the Cove Site Director, a Licensed Clinician.

At the conclusion of the group time, parents and kids come together to complete a joint activity designed to facilitate family communication about their grief. A closing ceremony completes the session.

Q: Is The Cove a therapy group? 

A: No.  The Cove is a support program for normal kids who have endured an overwhelming experience…the death of a family member.  If a child seems to be having an unusually difficult time with his or her grief, the staff and the caregiver will discuss the issues and, at the parent’s request, the Center will suggest qualified grief therapists in the area.

Q: Who facilitates The Cove?

A: Facilitators are volunteers who are screened by Cove staff members. They receive 15 hours of training on children and grief and undergo a DCF and Criminal background check before they begin their work at Cove. In addition, they meet with the Site Director one hour before and after each session at The Cove for continuing education and supervision.

Q: Is the program gloomy and depressing?

A: Kids don’t usually mourn in a gloomy way.  While sometimes sad, kids’ grief is often noisy and lively as well.  The activities at The Cove are intended to be fun, while inviting kids to explore their grief and to grow from it.

Q: How much does it cost? 

A: There is no fee for the program. Families signing up will be invited to make a monthly pledge for an amount with which they are comfortable.  No family is ever turned away for financial reasons and no family is ever required to make a donation. 

Q: How long are families expected to attend the Family Program? 

A: We welcome new families to the group five times through the school year.  Families enroll at the most appropriate time to meet their needs. Consistency and continuity are important for peer support groups. To maximize the program’s benefits families are requested to attend four consecutive meetings upon enrollment and regularly thereafter.  Families are expected to contact their Site Director if they plan to be absent. The Cove respects the uniqueness of grief so each family decides when to finish our program.  To mark completion for the family, a group “goodbye” will take place at the conclusion of their last meeting. The average length of participation is a year and a half. Many families choose to stay longer and become volunteers to help other grieving families.

Q: How do I join? 

A: To register for The Cove, call The Cove Coordinating Office 203-634-0500 or toll-free 1-800-750-COVE. A staff member will discuss the program with you and answer any questions you may have. Once you have completed the registration material, you are welcome to enter The Cove and find shelter from the storms of grief.


Below is a short video of the Annual Butterfly Release celebrated at each of the Cove Family Sites.