AIM: To present findings from a review of key literature and from a scoping of current provision of support for children facing the death of a parent. A summary of the findings from these is reported here. METHODS: To set out the background and context to the evaluation of a new service aimed at supporting children and families facing the loss of a parent from cancer, key literature was reviewed and a scoping of current bereavement support for children and families was conducted using online searching, telephone and face-to-face communications. FINDINGS: The review processes uncovered a range of national and local bereavement services. Bereavement was reported as a normal life event and part of human experience. Health, education and social services personnel need to respond to individual needs, accepting that not all bereaved children require complex, long-term interventions. CONCLUSIONS: At national and global levels there was recognition that the needs of bereaved children require careful assessment. A complex range of initiatives have been developed across the UK aimed at supporting children facing the death of a family member. The fragmented nature of provision makes it difficult to be comprehensive or all-inclusive when describing service provision in this area.