Sokol: Texas Must Support Child Death Intervention Measures

In an op-ed for the San Antonio Express-News (12/23) Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas executive director Marian Sokol, PhD, MPH, says Texas “needs a comprehensive Horizontal vintage swing green bokeh background
state strategy utilizing technology and evidence-based program research” to track and manage the causes of child deaths in the state. The Protect our Kids Commission, on which Sokol served, released a report this month detailing some underlying causes of child death, and recommending that the state better support the “volunteer-led community Child Fatality Review Teams that look for patterns and causes of child deaths. … We cannot afford not to fund these home intervention strategies for at-risk families throughout the state,” she writes.

Protect Our Kids Commission

Protect Our Kids Commission held a press conference December 2, 2015 to announce the release of its final report submitted to the Texas Legislature.

The Texas Legislature created the Protect Our Kids (POK) Commission in 2013 comprised of a delegation of child abuse experts from the medical, judicial, and child welfare communities. The Center’s Executive Director Dr. Marian Sokol was among six elected by the governor.  This commission released a comprehensive report on recommendations directed to the Legislature, child welfare agencies, and child abuse advocates to help strengthen the ways Texas communities address child fatalities.

National Children’s Grief Awareness Day

National Children’s Grief Awareness Day strives to bring attention to the needs of grieving children and provides an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of the impact that the death of a loved one has on the life of a child; an opportunity to make sure that children receive the support they need.

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These are ways you can show your support on Thursday, November 19th, 2015:
*Wear BLUE.
*Wear the BLUE National Children’s Grief Awareness Day bracelet
given to all current family members of CBCST

Camp Kangaroo Registration

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Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas is honored to partner with Season’s Hospice Foundation. Together we will conduct the first Camp Kangaroo in Texas for children who have experienced the death of a loved one. We will bring together grief specialists and music therapists from across the country for this three-day overnight camp.

When: October 10-12, 2015kids

Where: Camp Tejas (Giddings, Texas)

Deadline: September 10, 2015

Cost: No cost to families

For more information on Camp Kangaroo, please contact Tami Logsdon at [email protected]


Seasons_Hospice_Foundation_Logo-small seasons hospice and palliative careCamp Kangaroo is funded in-part by the Seasons Hospice Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit foundation, and through the generous support of individuals, corporations and foundation donors to the Children’s Bereavement Center.

Our Generous Sponsors


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Williams-Chadwick Family Charitable Fund


Koehler Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee

$1,000 – $2,499

Junior League of San Antonio

Christmas Family Supper Club

Sacks Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee


Charles and Janet Hornberger

Friends of the Children’s Bereavement Center

Golf Tournament Benefits the CBC!!


Golf Tournament - Branding LogoThe 12th Annual Keller Williams Hearts and Hands Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday, October 8th at the Quarry Golf Club benefiting the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.

Individuals can sign up to play or play as a team!!

Not a golfer? Sign up for the after party! This includes dinner, drinks, music, a chance to win raffle prizes and enjoy a LIVE auction!!


Can’t make the event?? DONATE TODAY!!

For more information, please visit their website at

Prefer to mail or hand deliver it? Click HERE to download the golf form.

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Attention RUNNERS!!

Dust off those running shoes and SAVE THE DATE for the Brew-Ha Roundup, sponsored by BB&T Bank, on Saturday, October 24th benefiting the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas!!

There will be a Kids Run, a 5K and a Half Marathon for you serious runners.

Sign yourself up or get a team together in honor or in memory of your loved one… The more the merrier!!


Not a Runner?? Sign Up HERE to VOLUNTEER!!

*In addition to the satisfaction of helping others and giving towards The Children’s Bereavement Center, all race day volunteers will receive food and beer/soda at the race finish line area available from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.



Title Sponsor

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Supporting Sponsor

If you are interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact us. This is an exciting opportunity to promote your business and benefit the Center.

Click here to preview our Sponsorship Packet.


BIG Thanks to San Antonio!!

Thank You for supporting the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas through the Big Give S.A.!!

We EXCEEDED our goal of $10,000 and raised $11,775 from 110 donors!!

The Center will be able to promote our KIDS, CAMPS and CANINES in 2015.

Each year the Center assists over 1,200 grieving children and their families through our grief support groups and counseling services. In the past year, we have seen an increase of children and families, in an effort to meet these demands the Center is expanding its efforts and offering an offsite grief camp, Camp Kangaroo, for children suffering the loss of a loved one in the Fall of 2015. And in the Summer of 2015, the Center will be enhancing our current programming and bring in a pet therapy component to work with our Sibling night grief support group.

 We couldn’t have done it without your support!!

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LogoTiltedwithDate,Website,TaglineOn this year’s Big Give S.A. day on May 5th, join us for 24 hours of online giving to support our KIDS, CAMPS AND CANINES!!

Each year we assist over 1,500 grieving children and their families through our grief support groups and counseling services. In 2015, we are expanding our efforts and offering an offsite grief camp, Camp Kangaroo, for children suffering the loss of a loved one. In collaboration with Communities and Schools and other area school counselors, we are targeting children who cannot attend our typical weekly grief support groups due to reasons outside of their control, i.e. transportation, distance, etc.

trained dogAlso in July of 2015, the Center will enhance our current programing and bring in a pet therapy component with our Sibling night grief group. We plan to start with 5 dogs for the first group, one for each age group and a therapy dog for the parent group. The “handlers” of the therapy dogs will have to go through our typical volunteer facilitator training and commit to the same timeframe as other community volunteers who assist as facilitators. It is the plan that each dog will stay with their same age group throughout the duration of the year for consistency purposes, as well as strengthening the relationship between the children and dog.

For more information on these programs, please contact our Programming Department at (210) 736-4847.


Suicide Among the Young — Searching for Answers

Suicide among the young — searching for answers

Jordan Harris’ suicide spurred her mother to create a foundation.

Jordan Harris’ suicide spurred her mother to create a foundation.

More than 50 experts meet to seek solutions
By Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje; January 25, 2015

Last spring, a member of the Child Fatality Review Team, which examines child deaths in Bexar County, approached Marian Sokol and asked a concerning question: What might be fueling a spike in the number of youth suicides?

In 2014, nine children under the age of 18 took that most drastic and irreversible of steps — ending their young lives. That was more than twice the number of any given year in recent times, and approached a high point of 12, set in the early ’90s.

Sokol, head of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, called two longtime child advocates in San Antonio, asking, “Who is the local leading authority on youth suicide?” They didn’t know. She called her friend Helen Loring Dear, vice president of Porter Loring Mortuaries, and asked the same question.

Dear didn’t know either, but spoke of the emotional pain she’d witnessed in families who’d had to bury young ones lost to suicide.

Together, the two set out to find out the main repository of knowledge about youth suicide in San Antonio, and came to a startling conclusion: There was none. In its place was a hodgepodge of local and state agencies and nonprofits, all working on the problem of youth suicide in their separate silos, usually not communicating across lines, often duplicating efforts.

On Friday, Sokol, Dear and more than 50 representatives from a host of entities — mental health groups, state agencies, school districts, advocate organizations and more — came together to confront youth suicide with one voice and perhaps come up with a coordinated solution.

“I want to see something happen sooner rather than later,” Sokol told those gathered for the first roundtable, which convened in a large conference room at Valero. “Our children can’t wait.”

After a nearly five-hour meeting, the group arrived at a host of possible goals, including reducing the stigma around mental illness and suicide among youth, fostering collaboration between the various groups, and improving access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for families.

Sokol said the wealth of information would be analyzed and summarized, after which the new coalition — headed by the bereavement center, Clarity Child Guidance Center and Voices for Children of San Antonio — would reconvene to plan a course of action.

Dr. Anil T. Mangla, assistant director at Metro Health, peppered the group with alarming statistics from the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which drove home the urgency of their discussion.

The survey, based on the self-reports of high school students across the U.S. every two years, shows that students in Bexar County are in line with national percentages when it comes to being at risk for considering and attempting suicide.

For example, almost 30 percent of high school students in the county said they struggled with feelings of sadness and hopelessness in the past year, one of the major markers for suicide risk, Mangla said.

“That is dangerous,” he said. “Kids who felt hopeless were seven times more likely to attempt suicide compared to other kids.”

When it came time to talk about solutions, Victoria M. Bustos with the Region 20 Education Service Center suggested taking the survey data to state legislators. School counselors already are overloaded with cases, she said, and plans to saddle them with even more academic-related work will further strain their ability to help troubled students.

“The data will talk,” she said.

The conference began on a personal note when Ellen Harris of North Richland Hills, a suburb of Fort Worth, whose daughter, Jordan, killed herself in 2012 after enduring six months of depression, urged those assembled to battle the shame that surrounds suicide.

“Our most important mission is to bring this conversation to light,” said Harris, co-founder of the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, a nonprofit that supports research and education on depression and suicide prevention. “People don’t want to talk about this, but most have some sort of personal story about how mental illness or suicide touched their lives.”

[email protected]

Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje

social services reporter | San Antonio Express-News

More information

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Visit for local, state and national resources.


Supplies Needed!!


We’ve got a busy year ahead with LOTS of fun activities planned

and are in need of some supplies!!

Blank Canvases
(sizes 5×7 or 8×10)

Fabric Markers

Paint Pens

8 inch Clay Pots

To see more items needed from our WISH LIST click the image.