Children’s Treehouse Foundation

We will be working closely with Children’s Treehouse Foundation in the coming months.  I wanted to take a minute to tell you a little about their foundation.  Please feel free to visit their website for more information as well at

The Children’s Treehouse Foundation’s psychosocial intervention programming is unique because of its special focus and delivery system.
It’s About The Children
It’s a given. Cancer affects the entire family. Yet in too many situations, the undeniable psychosocial impact on the children whose parent has cancer goes unattended.This may lead to ongoing stress and anxiety for the children, evolving into maladaptive behavior throughout life. Our mission is to redress this critical oversight.
Parents In a Crisis
Many parents dealing with cancer acknowledge they don’t know how to talk to their children about their cancer. This breakdown in communication not only heightens the stress and fears of the children, but also isolates them and precludes them from being an active member of the family. We are committed to help fill this need.
Enhancing Hospital Services
Hospitals are clearly the haven in treating the parent with cancer. Yet even as they know the parent’s treatment proceeds best when their concerns of their children are diminished, far too few provide adequate emotional support for the children involved. Our emotional, group-support programming for children bridges this gap.
Training the Facilitators
Enlightened, trained, professional facilitators at cancer centers are the keys to assuaging the fears and anxieties of children whose parents have cancer. Clearly, social workers, nurses, clergy, life center specialists, or others, when armed with new insights into the children’s psyche, and provided with the proper tools, are uniquely qualified to help the children in their new unsettled environment.
Closing the Caring Loop
Finally, they all come together: Fearful children, anxious parents, a healing facility, and caring, thoughtful professionals. And almost like magic, the children learn how to cope with their feelings, parents become aware of richly improved family communications, and facilitators know, in their heart of hearts, that the trauma and travails of the family are measurably reduced. We’ve closed the caring loop.
Our Role, and Benefits
  • Professional Training: The Children’s Treehouse Foundation provides cancer centers and hospitals with professional training to enable them to launch support programs for the children whose parents have cancer so they are better able to cope in that unsettling, frightening, and stressful environment. 

    They receive training and program manuals, a power point presentation, a DVD, and children’s activity material developed by the Foundation’s CLIMB (Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) program, funded in part by the Avon Foundation.

  • Family Support: By providing group-support programming, the family burden of dealing with cancer, and the inevitable stress, is significantly reduced. Parents need support and help in communicating with their children.
    They tell us: 
    • “I don’t want to alarm my children, but I don’t know want to lie to them either. How much should I tell them?”
    • “I think my child understands, but I don’t know. He never says anything to me about my cancer.”
    • “What should I answer when my daughter asks, ‘Are you going to die?’
  • Children need support because they tend to 
    • imagine the worst
    • experience intense feelings of shock, disbelief, denial, fear and anxiety
    • mistakenly believe they caused their parent’s illness
    • act out their feelings, displaying behavioral problems

    Here’s what children tell us during the CLIMB support program: 
    “I really don’t feel like playing.” 
    “I wish this NEVER happened.” 
    “It feels like it’s your fault.” 
    “I want to BEAT SOMEONE UP!” 
    “I’m afraid of going to an orphanage.” 
    “You don’t feel safe.” 
    “You feel like you want to help a lot.” 

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