By Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - The Cook County medical examiner’s office is launching a grief counseling program to help families of homicide victims.

The county board of commissioners approved the pilot program Wednesday. The idea is to help people who must identify their loved one’s remains. It will be the first time the office has offered such assistance.

The program is designed as a partnership between the county and University of Illinois-Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work. A second-year graduate student will work with a member of the medical examiner’s staff to better prepare families before they are asked to view remains and to refer them to bereavement resources.

Medical examiner Dr. Stephen Cina (SEE’-nuh) says the program will help families “be better equipped to deal with the unexpected tragedy of a sudden death.”

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