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There are no official statistics on the number of bereaved children in the UK.

The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that 26,900 parents die each year in the UK, leaving approximately 46,300 dependent children aged 0-17. These figures are based on sources such as the census and mortality statistics, in the absence of other data, so they only provide a rough estimate.

Calls for a registry of bereaved children

There have been calls for a mechanism for collecting data on the number of children who are bereaved and identifying children who may need support. In March 2023, a Westminster Hall debate on the merits of establishing a registry of bereaved children highlighted concerns that children unknown to statutory services may not receive the support available to them.

Responding on behalf of the Government, then-Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education, Claire Coutinho MP, said responsibility for a registry of bereaved children lies with the Home Office, which has confirmed it has no plans to establish such a register.

Calls for a bereavement policy

There have been calls for schools to have bereavement policies in place and for the Department for Education to produce a national bereavement policy.

The UK Bereavement Commission has also called for all education settings to provide age-appropriate learning opportunities about “coping with death and bereavement as a part of life”.

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