COL Mission and Need for Services

COLCC Baby SheilaMission

The Mission of the Circle of Life Children's Center is to provide a comprehensive program of palliative and end-of-life care for children with life-limiting illnesses and support for families.

Overview of Need
  • There are 74.4 million children in the United States.
  • More than ten million children are living with a serious chronic or life-threatening   condition.
  • Approximately 55,000 children, ages 1-19 die each year in the United States.
  • Half of all childhood deaths occur during the first year of life, usually related to prematurity, genetic or congenital anomalies, SIDS or complications of childbirth (National Center for Health Statistics, 2009).
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011), unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in the United States for persons aged 1-19 years and the fifth leading cause of death for newborns and infants aged <1 year. Accidental and unintentional injuries account for nearly 30% of childhood deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).
  • The remaining 20% of childhood deaths occur among children who have chronic and/or life-threatening medical conditions such as neurological conditions, neuromuscular disorders, cancer, heart abnormalities, renal conditions, gastrointestinal issues, metabolic conditions, HIV/AIDS, respiratory and/ or immunologic conditions.
Need for Services in New Jersey
  • In New Jersey in 2007, the child death rate was 15 per 100,000 children, and the teen death rate 44 per 100,000 teens (Kidcount 2011).
  • The leading causes of childhood deaths in New Jersey are: 1). conditions related to perinatal illness 2). congenital anomalies 3). unintentional injuries, 4). homicide  5). Malignant neoplasms 6. Suicide (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2010). 
  • The highest number of infant and overall childhood deaths has occurred in Essex County, signifying a vital need for Circle of Life Children Center's presence and services (New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, 2009).
  • This confirms why COLCC views Essex County as the hub of the wheel we will serve
  • Hospitals still remain the # 1 location of death for children, and in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is usually where they die (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 2009).
  • Data supports the notion that most families would choose to have their child die at home, surrounded by their loving family. 
  • While we do not like to think of it, children do die, and pain is not unique to adults. We have learned from behavioral and physiologic studies that even the youngest infant can experience pain.
  • Through our program we endeavor to fulfill an urgent, unmet need for a centralized palliative care program that will serve the eligible child throughout the continuum of illness in the state of New Jersey.