Helping Families Cope with Loss

For 25 years, The Cove Center has supported grieving children and parents.

Families with children who are grieving the death of a parent or sibling are not alone. The Cove Center for Grieving Children offers free grief support programs at community sites and virtually throughout Greater New Haven and Connecticut.

This month, The Cove is launching a virtual men’s support group. Run by a licensed clinical social worker, the support group is a safe space for men to be themselves, open up and support one another in navigating the challenging waters of grief as they support the children that need them most.

Learn more about the Grief Support Group for Men.

The Cove was started after co-founder Jim Emswiler’s wife died at a young age, leaving him with three young children. Frustrated by the lack of support organizations to help him and other grieving families, Emswiler formed the New England Center for Loss and Transition in Guilford. Together with his second wife, Mary Ann, and therapist Renée McIntyre, the center studied the best national models available to create a youth-focused program designed to help children and teens deal with grief. The program became The Cove, which was separately incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) organization in 1998.

Beginning with six families in the first year, The Cove Center for Grieving Children serves hundreds of grieving children and family members through regular support sessions at local sites around the state including New Haven. Since COVID-19, the center has adapted to include virtual programming.

Learn more about The Cove Center for Grieving Children on

Did you know?

Infants and toddlers, up to about age 5, experience a sense of loss but do not understand the permanence of death, according to the Children's Grief Education Association. From ages 6 to 10, children comprehend that a loved one who has died will not return and are likely to be interested in diseases and what happens to the body. In early adolescence, ages 11 to 13, the child's natural insecurity may be magnified by the loss. From 14 to 18, as teens are testing their independence, they often seek to hide their grief and talk with peers about it rather than adults. They are more prone to engage in high-risk behavior following the death of a loved one. (From The COVE FAQs about Grieving Children).

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.