Supporting Pediatric Loss and Grief

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A dynamic panel of multidisciplinary care providers will discuss numerous facets of children's loss and grief, including support strategies.

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During this 1-hour interactive webinar, three presenters will share stories from their lives and work that illuminate the needs of children facing loss and experiencing grief.

Topics will include:

  • How to communicate effectively with children
  • Hold to hold space for children
  • How to engage children in the journey of loss and grief

Francesca will present her new picture book, MAP OF MEMORY LANE, a story that gently introduces mortality awareness and provides a creative means to process heartbreak.

*Those who register will receive the recording!


Jess Boyea, BS, BSN, RN, IBCLC. Jess Boyea is a registered nurse and the State Coordinator for Vermont’s Pediatric Palliative Care Program. For the first 10 years of her nursing career, Jess was a Labor and Delivery nurse and also worked as a maternal/child clinical instructor for the nursing program at the University of Vermont. After her time on Labor and Delivery, Jess transitioned to working as a maternal and child home health nurse. While working at home health, Jess served first time, Medicaid-eligible moms as a Nurse Family Partnership home visitor, provided lactation support to new families as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, provided medical support to children in their homes as a medical nurse, served children diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and their families as the Pediatric Palliative Care Program care coordinator, and worked as the clinical nurse manager for Maternal/Child Health. Jess is also a graduate of the first cohort of the University of Vermont End-of-life Doula Program. In her current role, Jess provides oversight and management of the Pediatric Palliative Care Program in the State of Vermont and supports, educates, and collaborates with multidisciplinary teams to provide compassionate care and improve quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. When not working, Jess loves to spend time with her family, run in the forest, and listen to live music.

Ali Waltien, MA. Ali is a rostered psychotherapist in private practice in South Burlington, Vermont. Ali started her career as a certified child life specialist for 12 years at UVM Children's Hospital, first working with children facing their own medical interventions and then designing and implementing a program focused on supporting children of adult patients. As a child life specialist, Ali supported families impacted by significant medical stressors, worked with families to find developmentally appropriate and gentle ways to speak with children about serious illness, and helped families navigate the complexities of end-of-life. Ali co-facilitated a family grief support group for 11 years and has volunteered time throughout the past decade with Camp Knock Knock, a family bereavement camp run by UVM Home Health and Hospice. As a private practice clinician, Ali continues to work with children and families impacted by serious illness, grief and loss and aims to bring creativity and compassion into all her interactions. When not working, Ali lives in Ferrisburgh with her family and enjoys gardening and being outside!

Francesca Arnoldy, Community Doula. Francesca is the course developer of the University of Vermont's End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Programs, a bereavement researcher with the Vermont Conversation Lab, and a hospice volunteer. Francesca wrote "Cultivating the Doula Heart - Essentials of Compassionate Care" (a guidebook) and "Map of Memory Lane" (a picture book). She runs workshops and presents about these rich topics with hopes of encouraging people to support others during times of intensity. Francesca lives in Vermont with her loved ones in a most idyllic village. She can be found contemplating birth, death, and life with the doula heart on her website

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Organizer Francesca Arnoldy, Contemplative Doula

Organizer of Supporting Pediatric Loss and Grief

Francesca Arnoldy, UVM alumna and longtime birth worker, is the course developer, facilitator, and program director of the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine's End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Program. She is the author of Cultivating the Doula Heart: Essentials of Compassionate Care and leads in-person workshops about doula approaches and end-of-life wishes. She works collaboratively with her local hospice and palliative care teams. Her goal is to encourage people to hold one another's hands through life's intensities and sacred rites of passage. Francesca lives in quaint Hinesburg, VT with her family in a most beloved village.  

Francesca can be found contemplating birth, death, and life with the doula heart on her website 

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