Child Life Council
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The Child Life Profession



What is a Child Life Specialist?

Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events.

Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress. 


Professional Standards of Practice

Child life specialists have earned a minimum bachelor’s or master’s degree, with an educational emphasis on human growth and development, education, psychology, or a related field of study.

They adhere to a code of ethics and standards established by the Child Life Council, and many have participated in the rigorous process for obtaining the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential, which is administered by CLC. All Certified Child Life Specialists must complete a supervised 480-hour clinical internship, pass a national examination, and adhere to a minimum standard for continued professional development in order to maintain their certification. 

For more information on Child Life Core Competencies and Standards of Clinical Practice, review the following updated sections of the Official Documents of the Child Life Council are available online. Click on one of the following links to download. 

For more information on how to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), please visit Certification.


New! Child Life Promotional Flyer 

This recently updated promotional flyer makes an excellent educational tool for parents, colleagues and others who may benefit from a general introduction to the child life profession. The flyer provides information about basic services, areas where child life specialists work, professional standards of practice, and the benefits of child life services for children and families. In response to member demand, CLC is offering a professionally printed version of this flyer through the CLC Bookstore in quantities of 50 or 100 (current member price is $7 for 50 flyers or $13 for 100 flyers, plus shipping & handling). Members are also invited to download, print, and/or distribute this free PDF version of the flyer as needed.

Child Life: Empowering Children & Families (2 pgs, 2.2 MB) 
  Services éducatifs en milieu pédiatrique: Responsabiliser les enfants et les familles (in French)