Americans Send Over 40,000 Petitions to Congress, Urging Amending the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 to Include Loss of a Child and Supporting Senate Bill S1358.

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In 2011, Kelly Farley and Barry Kluger, grieving dads began a petition to urge Congress to set aside differences and add bereavement as a covered condition to the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act.

Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dads Project (http://www.GrievingDads.com) and Barry Kluger, author of “A Life Undone: a Father’s Journey Through Loss Continues,” announced today that more than 40,000 petitions have been sent to Congress and the White House, supporting the Farley-Kluger Initiative, to expand the current Federal Medical Leave Act of 1993 to include ‘loss of a child’ as a qualified condition. They were joined by sixteen respected national organizations. (http://www.FarleyKluger.com).

“Since our petition launched in early 2011, it has gained steady support and now has surpassed the 40,000 mark,” said Messrs. Farley and Kluger. “And we are gaining the support of nationally respected organizations of individuals and professionals who are intimately familiar with the process of grieving.”

According to Messrs. Farley and Kluger, those groups recently throwing support behind the initiative include: The National Association of Social Workers, American Counseling Association, Employee Assistance Professionals Association and The National Grief Recovery Educational Foundation. These organizations join MarineParents.com, Gold Star Mothers and Fathers, The JED Foundation, Parents of Murdered Children, The MISS Foundation, American Institute of Healthcare Professionals, American Academy of Grief Counselors and Blue Star Families.

Senator Jon Tester (MT) introduced The Parental Bereavement Act of 2011 inspired by The Farley-Kluger Initiative and co-sponsored by five U.S. Senators, including Sens. Durbin, McCaskill and Brown (OH). In early October 2012, Congressman Steve Israel (NY) announced plans to introduce a companion bill in the House, also spurred by the Farley-Kluger effort and constituency support.

The Farley-Kluger Initiative is named after Katie (2004) and Noah (2006) Farley and Erica Kluger (2001) whose young lives were tragically cut short.

Messrs. Farley and Kluger commented: “Death and loss knows no party affiliation and its impact on families is overwhelming. The grief and healing period is too-often ignored, and the lack of available leave is both an affront and a tragedy to bereaved parents. We urge all in Washington to support this issue and give those who are in pain, the opportunity-and the time- to start the healing.”

The Farley-Kluger Initiative seeks to give all bereaved parents the option to take a leave of absence to begin the healing process without the additional concern of losing their job. The current FMLA provides no provision for leave after the death of child.

Messrs. Farley and Kluger concluded: “At this pivotal time in our nation’s history, we must look to our legislative leaders to focus on what unites us, rather than separates us.”

In June of this year, The Farley-Kluger effort was featured in a USA Today editorial. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-06-05/bereavement-grief-work-leave-loss-child/55405552/1
Kelly Farley began the Grieving Dads Project as an online community for fathers who lost children to come together, share their experiences and support each other. Barry Kluger is a media executive and columnist and is President and CEO of The MISS Foundation (http://www.missfoundation.org), a global non-profit that deals with child loss.

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