Talking with Children About Cancer: Support for school professionals

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The UFT Welfare Fund has expanded its relationship with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to offer New York City public school professionals access to Talking with Children About Cancer, a program designed to help adults communicate with children who have a loved one in their life with cancer.

Through consultation by phone and educational group workshops, experienced MSK oncology social workers will provide UFT-represented employees with the tools they need to support students and their families with a loved one diagnosed with cancer.  

To contact the program, call the Welfare Fund’s dedicated toll-free line at 844-350-5034. You will be able to speak with an MSK social worker within one business day.

How can NYC school professionals benefit from the Talking with Children About Cancer program?

For children, having a parent or another family member diagnosed with cancer can be difficult. Stress and uncertainty can sometimes lead to changes in behavior and mood. School staff members are often the first to notice these differences. This program can provide school professionals with the resources they need to fully support the child and their family.

What is Talking with Children About Cancer?

Talking with Children About Cancer is a program developed and run by MSK’s Social Work Department to help adults support and communicate with children who have a loved one in their life with cancer. MSK oncology social workers will provide insight into children’s thoughts and feelings about cancer as well as their reactions to a diagnosis. They will recommend effective communication strategies and suggest age-appropriate interventions to support children who have a loved one with cancer.

These services are offered at no cost through the UFT Welfare Fund's partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Why Memorial Sloan Kettering?

MSK is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, devoting more than 130 years to exceptional patient care and innovative research. It is consistently ranked among the top hospitals for adult and pediatric cancer care in the United States. MSK also has a world-renowned Social Work Department to assist patients, families and the community with the emotional, social, and physical impact of cancer.

Who should contact Talking with Children About Cancer?

UFT-represented public school professionals may contact the program if they:

  • work in a New York City public school as a teacher, paraprofessional, school counselor, school social worker, psychologist, school nurse or other related service provider; and
  • would like guidance on how to support and communicate with students who have an adult family member or caregiver with cancer

If you are unsure whether these services are right for you, please call the UFT Welfare Fund’s Health and Cancer Helpline for guidance at 212-539-0500, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday during the school year.


Can UFT members with cancer contact Talking with Children About Cancer for guidance on how to discuss their diagnosis with their own children?

UFT members with cancer who are currently receiving care at Memorial Sloan Kettering may call the MSK Direct phone number to request assistance on how to discuss their diagnosis with their own children.

UFT members with cancer who are not getting care at MSK should speak with their physician’s office about getting a referral for support at their current treatment center. For more information, call the UFT Welfare Fund's Health and Cancer Helpline at 212-539-0500.

Additionally, UFT members and their families seeking cancer care can call MSK Direct, which offers guided access to expert cancer treatment and support. To contact the program, call the Welfare Fund’s dedicated toll-free line at 844-350-5034.

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