No one ever thinks of having to select a funeral home to support them after having a baby. There are many generous and supportive disposition providers in the region that can help support you in offsetting some of the financial burdens you may experience. Additionally, we have services and resources available that can help offset medical expenses and household bills while on disability/maternity leave.
Three Little Birds Disposition Support Package - Three Little Birds is developing a preferred providers list of funeral homes that can help offset financial burdens and expenses with our Disposition Support Packages. Each package offers a free gift from Three Little Birds based on their choice of burial or cremation. Each family has the option of receiving a small urn or cremation jewelry pendant or key chain, or a handmade angel gown (made from donated wedding gowns and sewn by volunteer seamstresses). Additionally, our package provides resources and support items. Available Summer 2022.
Choosing a Provider - Before contracting with a funeral home, make a few quick calls to compare prices. One funeral home may have a basic burial plan priced at $4,000, while across town the price could be $2,500. There are some providers that will comp services for perinatal loss families (and we are so grateful for them!). Identify three or four funeral homes to contact. Be sure to ask if the price includes a burial, plot, and open and closing of the grave. These items could add several hundreds of dollars to the base funeral cost. Make sure you understand all of the additional cost including programs, use of chapel, transportation of family, police escort, viewing hours, slide-shows, flowers, and other specialized features. Select services that will honor your loss and your resources. A fully optioned funeral can cost approximately $4,500 – $8,000. Remember that your child wants you to have peace which is difficult if you over extend yourself and your resources. Consider all of your options. Make the decision that is right for your child and your family as you move forward. Do not be afraid to delegate this overwhelming task to a family member or friend. They will be able to keep notes and relay the best options to you for consideration.
Memory Making/Infant Remembrance Portraiture - If you were not offered the option of memory making and infant remembrance portraiture at the hospital, and are interested in this gift, please let your funeral provider know and if a volunteer is available, they will be dispatched to support your family. If we are not available, we encourage you to take your own photographs and we can retouch them for you. As impossible as it may seem - you can never have enough pictures!
Financial Considerations for Cremation - Cremation is the most financially friendly option. To help offset additional costs, Three Little Birds offers our families one complimentary cremation gift. You have the choice of a small urn, a key chain vessel or jewelry to carry your baby with you. Many families find comfort in wearing their baby’s ashes with them. This is available only to families in the counties in our service region.
Financial Considerations for Burial - The cost of burial varies based on your specific wants and needs and can be costly. Three Little Birds can offer you a complimentary “angel gown”/burial gown to lay your baby to rest in. This is available only to families in the counties in our service region. Handcrafted by volunteers, these gowns are created from donated wedding gowns from other loss families. Prior to calling a funeral home it can help to understand the average costs associated with burial:
Burial plots average between $900 and $14,000
Vault costs average between $800 and $4,500
Average cost to open and close of the grave is between $800 and $1,500.
Funeral costs average between $3,500 and $8,000*
Burial costs average between $900 and $1,500
Headstones costs average $1,500 and up depending on size and design
Green burials - The body is not embalmed, only refrigeration or dry ice is used to preserve the body. The body is placed in a casket made of renewable, biodegradable material, or wrapped in a shroud of biodegradable fibers such as linen or cotton. Bodies are place directly in the earth. Gradually, the body returns to the earth in a natural progression. This is a cost-effective alternative to traditional burial.
Postponing the memorial service - Many of the families we support will wait six months to a year after their passing to host a ceremony or service, big or small, that is meaningful. We can provide you with FREE options on how to have a memorial service for your baby or we can facilitate one for you for a nominal fee that is a donation in your baby's name. Options include a butterfly release ceremony, a sacred tree planting ceremony, an ashes spreading/release ceremony or a first birthday party celebration.
Employer/Union Benefits - Be sure to check with your employer regarding family death benefits. You and your family may be covered under a death benefit policy. If you or your spouse are, or were, members of a local union, inquire regarding available death benefits that can help offset burial/disposition expenses.
Financial support/resources to offset expenses:
The TEARS Foundation – This organization compassionately lifts a financial burden from families who have lost a child by providing funds to assist with the cost of burial or cremation services. Funds are paid directly to the service provider to approved applicants.
NJ Funeral Assistance - If you receive financial assistance from the state of NJ, they may cover these costs for you.
Walk in Sunshine Foundation – Provides financial assistance to NJ families for burial.
Trappist Caskets – Handcrafted by Catholic monks, these caskets are donated to families who have lost a child. You can find their contact information online, however, you or your funeral service provider will need to call to order as they do not accept online orders. Call toll-free: (888) 433-6934
Billing errors are not uncommon, however, for grieving families, it presents an uncomfortable scenario for them having to call to have the issue explained or remedied. Additionally, there is nothing more insulting than receiving medical bills for procedures relating to the delivery and death of a child. There are organizations and advocacy groups that support families locally and nationally to help offset these burdens for families. Below are some resources that can help.
Aubrey's Advocates - Founded by a local loss mama in memory of her daughter, Aubrey Advocate exists to support families in the aftermath of a perinatal or infancy loss. They work alongside of families to aid in important decision making that must be addressed following the loss of a baby, such employers and insurance company benefits and coverage, and connecting families with local resources that can assist in their unique grieving process.
Noelle's Light - Founded by local loss parents, Noelle's Light provides eligible families up to $5,000 in financial assistance to cover out-of-pocket expenses for families faced with a life limiting or uncertain fetal diagnosis.
Ronald McDonald House - Whether for a short stay or for weeks at a time, we provide a temporary residence to families with the comforts of home as well the support of our dedicated staff and volunteers. There are Ronald McDonald houses in both Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ that can support lodging needs. Their Family Support Team consists of Family Services, Social Work, and the Activities and Education Programs. The Family Service staff is available seven days a week to help the family with their room request, learn more about the House and navigate their stay with us. rmhcphilly.org or mhsnj.org.
Collete Louise Foundation - This foundation provides financial assistance to families who find themselves in situations with pregnancy complications and/or NICU stays. Financial assistance can include, but is not limited to childcare for other children, travel and transportation, phone bills, and car insurance payments. Additionally, they provide financial assistance to families who lose a child due to miscarriage, stillborn, or as an infant. Financial assistance can include but is not limited to the funeral and burial expenses.
Hayden's Helping Hands - This foundation provides $1,000 for delivery medical costs of a stillborn baby. Funeral expenses, prior doctor visits, check ups, aftercare, or any past due/collections medical bills are excluded/not applicable. Payments issued are paid directly to the institution issuing the invoice for the medical delivery bill(s).
The Fletcher Foundation - This foundation provides up to $500 of financial assistance to families after miscarriage or stillbirth, towards a hospital bill.
The Luca John Foundation - The Luca John Foundation provides medical grants to institutions that increase the survivability and quality of life of children diagnosed with all forms of skeletal dysplasia and provide financial assistance for funerals to families who lose an infant child 12 months and younger, or a stillbirth.