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Parent FAQs

Who comes to Rainbow's Support Groups

Children are mainly supported by their family and extended family. The experience of attending a support group, like Rainbows, with other children, of similar age and loss can help children realise and understand that they are “not the only one”. The relief and understanding that comes for children meeting others in the same situation can be so reassuring and supportive for a child.

Who is eligible for the programme?

Children and young people experiencing grief and loss attend our programmes. The minimum age is 7 years of age and in First Class and the maximum age is 18 years.

Is the Rainbow's Service suitable for children whose loss results from the death of a baby during or after pregnancy?

Rainbows actively signposts children and families impacted by the death of a baby to more specialised and professional services. These services are listed below.

Féileacáin: 085 2496464 Provides support to anyone affected by the death of a baby during or after pregnancy.

Firstlight: 1850 391 391 Provides Professional and Qualified Support To Anyone Affected By The Sudden Death Of A Child Or Young Person

A Little Lifetime: 01 8829030 Provide support for families who have experienced the death of a baby.

Is there a charge for attending Rainbow?

Rainbows is a free service and funded by TUSLA.

When and where do groups meet?

Rainbows is available in schools, family resource centres, youth projects and parish centres. Groups meet during the school year, usually weekdays after school or early evening for 1 hour for a duration of 9 weeks. 

There is no Rainbows programme in my child's school, where can I attend?

There are many public centres nationwide that all children can attend. E.g. Family Resource Centres Parish Centres, Youth Projects etc.

Click here to view our public Centres.

Click here to see if your child’s school offers Rainbows

Can I drop in with my child?

Our groups are not drop-in groups. Parents are required to attend an information session as part of the registration process for their child.

How can I sign my child up for a group? Do I need a GP or other professional referral?

Parents/Guardians can self-refer into Rainbows. Referral letters from GP’s or other professionals are not required

How do I enrol my child?

Contact your nearest Rainbows Programme Centre and they will take your details and get in contact when the next programme is due to start.

Parents/Guardians will speak with the  Rainbows Programme Coordinator. The purpose of this conversation is to inform parents and guardians of the Rainbows service and allow you, as a parent, to make an informed decision as to the suitability of your child to the service. Following this meeting, completed enrolment forms are returned to the Rainbows Programme Coordinator, who will then contact you in relation to the dates, times and venue of the group

Do I need the consent of both parents?

Yes. It is the policy of Rainbows that the signature of both parents/guardians is required.

This is waived in the following circumstances:

  • Court order that dispense with the need for consent
  • Parent/guardian uncontactable or whereabouts unknown
  • A parent has died

Please note that the parent completing the form certifies that all information is true and accurate and understands that they are solely responsible for the information provided.

When do groups begin?

Rainbows programmes are not available all year round and generally run during the academic year. The dates and times vary from one centre to the other.  It is best to contact your local centre directly to find out their local arrangements.

Who facilitates the Rainbows group?

All groups are facilitated by trained volunteers called Facilitators. All volunteers are selected and recruited in line with Children First 2011 and Garda Vetted specifically to facilitate the Rainbows programme.

Most of the volunteers are front line workers with children in various fields e.g. Schools, Social Care, Health Care, Youth Work etc. who recognise the needs of children impacted by significant loss.

What happens in a Rainbows group?

During the 9 weeks of the programme children are supported to identify and express their feelings around their loss. Very often do not have the language to express their feelings.

The core of Rainbows group support is coming together with other children of a similar age and loss and identifying with each other’s feelings. This can be very supportive for a child and reduce any feeling of isolation. The activities of the programme are designed to support this process. Click here to find out more about the Programmes. 

How can I support my child while attending the programme?

It is advisable not to question your child immediately after a programme session. • It is best to choose a more relaxed time to enquire how Rainbows is going for them. • Answer any questions your child may ask in relation to the loss in an age appropriate and truthful way. • Children may become upset. Do not be alarmed. This is a normal and a natural part of the group process. • Some children may not speak or want to talk about the programme at all. It is advisable to respect this and over time as a parent, you may notice some positive indications that your child is benefiting from the group support.

Will I receive specific feedback on my child?

At the Closing Session in Week 9, parents and guardians are invited to attend a short meeting. This meeting is held by the Programme Coordinator and they will provide a general reflection and evaluation of the programme their child has just completed.
Specific, individual feedback cannot be given on any individual child in the service.

Will I be made aware if my child is having difficulty in the group?

The Rainbows programme may not meet the needs of all children.

The Rainbows Programme Coordinator will inform a parent/guardian if it felt that the programme is not meeting the needs of a child at a particular time.

If this happens, it is suggested that parents consult with their local GP

Can I talk to the facilitatorsof the group my child is attending?

It is the policy of Rainbows that Facilitators do not give feedback.

You are asked not to engage a Rainbows Facilitator in specific discussions on your child’s participation in the programme. All questions and queries are directed to the Programme Coordinator.

How do I know if group support is suitable for my child?

Parents are required to attend a Parent Information Meeting to make an informed decision in relation to the suitability of the service for their child.

Points to note:
1. Attending the programme: provides children with an opportunity to meet with other children of a similar age and loss experience, however, group support is not for everyone.

2. Deciding on whether your child would benefit from a peer support group is based on a parent/guardian making an informed decision following the Parent Information Meeting.

3. Some children following significant grief and loss may display behaviours persistently, over a period of time, and are interfering with their daily routines, it is best to seek professional support through your GP.

Are there other organisations who may be able to help?

National Helplines:

Barnardos helpline for Bereavement:  01 473 2110

This helpline is open Monday – Thursday from 10am – 12pm and offers support and information to parents/guardians.

One Family Helpline for Separation1890 66 22 12

Advice for murder and violent crime: 01 6177937 or visit their website

Click here to find other resources for Bereavement Loss

Click here to find other resources for Separation Loss

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