Provide grants to bereaved families to avoid financial worries, report recommends
Grants should be provided to those left in financially precarious positions following the death of a loved one, an independent report has told the Scottish Government.
The National Childhood Bereavement Project, commissioned by the government in early 2020, concluded a one-off payment should be available where a primary earner has died.
It urged the government to work with the UK Government and Social Security Scotland to ensure such a payment would not affect entitlements to wider social security benefits.
The project’s final report, launched on Wednesday, goes on to make a series of other recommendations on better supporting children and young people who are bereaved.
Denisha Killoh, project lead, said: “People are going through the hardest thing that they will ever have to go through, and on top of that they’re having to worry about money.
“Nobody should be in that situation where their grief has to take a back seat because they can't afford to pay their bills.”
Another major recommendation is requiring schools to have a “four-point approach” to bereavement which would better help children cope with grief and support peers who are grieving.
It calls for a universal bereavement policy to be implemented in all schools setting out a framework for supporting grieving pupils, the inclusion of bereavement in the curriculum and bereavement training for all staff.
Sameena Javed, who previously lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament calling for bereavement to be taught in schools, welcomed the recommendation.
But she expressed concern about the slow pace being taken on the topic, particularly in light of deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Javed said: “This is exactly what I called for in my petition, and have been campaigning for, for the last five years. From this point of view, I am happy with the recommendations.
“However, it saddens me that it has taken over two years to publish these recommendations and who knows how much more time will be taken to implement these recommendations.”
Other recommendations in the report include embedding bereavement support across other wider services available for children and young people, promoting awareness of the types of support available and refreshing advice on what to do after a death.
The project was led by children's charity Includem. Chief executive Martin Dorchester said: "Our report highlights the differing levels of service, the various sources of funding, the lack of national data, and the difficulty in obtaining a national picture of bereavement services and support across Scotland... What is clear throughout is that there can be no one size fits all response."