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Cultivating inclusivity for children and all abilities in funeral planning and participation

March 5 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EST

The process of planning a funeral is a multifaceted endeavor involving significant considerations such as cultural traditions, accessibility, religious/ spiritual beliefs, communities, and the ability to derive meaning from the experience (Causadias et al., 2022). It is imperative to create an age-appropriate, death-positive conversation which can then expand participation to include often marginalized communities such as: BIPOCC, LGBTQIA, individuals, and children who are neurodiverse. Understanding contemporary funeral care practices can help make it easier to advocate for the inclusion of children in funeral planning, which can reduce psychopathology among children and adolescents (Becker et al, 2021; Causadias et al, 2022; McCaughan et al, 2021). Walsh’s Family Resilience Theory supports including children in funeral rituals as it can help instill stronger familial and community relationships. Recognizing and addressing children’s emotional needs in the context of death and loss is a pivotal step toward promoting a healthier grieving process. Embracing a more inclusive and compassionate approach to funeral planning can help ensure that all individuals and communities can participate and find solace in the process.

Not currently a member? Become a NACG member today! Your membership will provide access to free monthly webinars with CEs on current topics to support you in your work, discounts on educational events, access to all webinar playbacks, and more. To learn more and become a member to access this webinar for no additional cost, visit HERE →


Continuing Education (CE) Total: 1.5 CE hours available
Target Audience:
Counselors, Social workers, Bereavement support professionals
Instructional Level: Basic – This best describes a topic or issue that the prospective audience is encountering for the first time in a meaningful way
Format: Live Interactive Webinar



After attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Name best practices of contemporary funeral care.
  • List five key elements in developing an inclusive funeral ceremony for all ages and abilities.
  • Explain funeral procedures in age-appropriate explanations of funeral procedures for various age groups (ie: young children, adolescents) and consider the unique needs and abilities of attendees, including those with physical and cognitive challenges.


Speaker Bios:

Stephanie Heitkemper, PhD, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Resilient Minds Counseling PLLC in Denver, Colorado and Camp Erin NYC Clinical Director. Stephanie completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology and Human Services at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, and holds a Masters in Marriage Family Therapy from Regis University in Denver, CO. She completed her PhD in Counseling and Psychological Studies from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. Stephanie is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S), an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Approved Consultant and Certified Therapist, a Fellow in Thanatology (FT), and is also a Trauma and Loss Specialist (CTS) and Trauma Informed Assessment Specialist (CTA). Her main passion is working with children and families recovering from grief and trauma. Professionally, she finds the most joy in collaboration, problem solving, hands-on creativity, and interactive play. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys 5 am CrossFit, coffee, and exploring Colorado with her boxer, Frank, and her husband.

Jack E. Lechner, Jr. CFSP, MS, CT is a distinguished individual with extensive experience in both the funeral industry and United States Army. He currently holds the position of President & Chief Executive Officer of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science (CCMS). Jack’s knowledge and expertise in the funeral industry span nearly five decades. Before entering the academic field, Jack practiced as a licensed funeral director in the state of New Jersey for a decade. In 1983, he transitioned to a military career enlisting as an Infantryman in the United States Army. He went on to be commissioned as an officer in 1985. Jack’s final military assignment was at the honorable and prestigious Arlington National Cemetery. There he held several positions including Executive Officer, Cemetery Administrator, Deputy Superintendent. Jack’s dedication and contributions culminated in his appointment as Superintendent, a position he held until August 2015. Throughout his military career, Jack earned multiple military awards highlighting his exceptional service and dedication. These honors include the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, three Defense Meritorious Service Medals, five Meritorious Service Medals and various other commendations.


Continuing Education (CE) Provider Information:

Each professional is responsible for the individual requirements as stipulated by their licensing agency. Please contact your individual licensing board/regulatory agency to review continuing education requirements for licensure renewal. Please note: You must attend “live” (in real-time) to earn CEs. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the CE process, please contact Megan Lopez at or at (432) 288-4688.

The National Alliance for Children’s Grief has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7221. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The National Alliance for Children’s Grief is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. Counselors completing this course will receive 1.5 contact hours.

The National Alliance for Children’s Grief is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0689. Social Workers completing this course will receive 1.5 contact hours.

The National Alliance for Children’s Grief is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0238. Counselors completing this course will receive 1.5 contact hours.

National Alliance for Children’s Grief, #1819, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers.  State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. National Alliance for Children’s Grief maintains responsibility for this course.  ACE provider approval period: 07/20/2023 – 07/20/2026. Counselors completing this course will receive 1.5 continuing education credits.

Refund/cancellation policy: If you need to cancel your registration, please contact Megan Lopez at or at (432) 288-4688. Please note that no refunds will be given.

To request accessibility accommodations: The National Alliance for Children’s Grief is committed to providing universal access to all our events. Please contact Megan Lopez at or at (432) 288-4688 to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.

Attendance policy: To earn CEs for this event, you must attend the entirety of the event as demonstrated by your autogenerated login and logout time on the Zoom Webinar report and complete an online event evaluation within seven (7) days of the event. Please make sure you are signed into Zoom using the name that matches your professional license and not the name of your place of employment, as there is no way to verify your attendance after the fact if your name does not appear on the Zoom Webinar report. CE certificates will be sent out within 30 days of the educational event. The link for your certificate will come from “ as the National Alliance for Children’s Grief. Please be sure to add this email to your “safe sender list”. The NACG is unable to process certificates after 90 days from the date of the event. 

CE Certificate retrieval request: The NACG maintains continuing education records for at least six years from the educational event’s completion date. Records include the name and curriculum vitae of the presenter, a record of attendance, an outline of the course, the date and location of the course, and the number of hours for completion of the course. If you attended a CE educational event and need a copy of your CE certificate, please complete THIS form to obtain a copy. Please note if the education event was more than 90 days ago, and a required evaluation was not completed, a certificate cannot be provided per the policy.

Grievance policy:  To view the NACG’s Continuing Education Grievance Policy, you can find it HERE. Please complete THIS form to share a grievance with the NACG regarding a continuing education event.


March 5
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EST
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