ACLP (CLC) Historical Timeline


Mott Children’s Hospital, Michigan established early play programs for children.


Babies and Children’s Hospital of Columbia Presbyterian, New York established early play programs for children.


Montreal Children’s Hospital, Quebec established early play programs for children, by 1949 at least 9 North American programs in existence.


Emma Plank was asked by Dr. Fred Robbins (Nobel Laureate) to create a program to address the social, emotional and educational needs of hospitalized children at Cleveland City Hospital. Emma Plank served as director for the Child Life and Education Division until 1972.


Emma Plank authored the book, Working with Children in Hospitals.


Organizing committee met to discuss creating an organization, established in 1966, called the Association for the Well-Being of Hospitalized Children and Their Families (renamed the Association for the Care of Children in Hospitals, or ACCH in 1967).

1970s & 1980s

Child life movement experienced rapid growth. Many new programs were started.


ACCH held pre- or post-conference workshops for child life, play and recreation therapists to focus on skill development.


A Child Life/Activity Specialist Committee was formed within ACCH and became a Study Section in 1975.


A Child Life Task Force was formed within the Study Section to work on professional standards and staff accreditation. This group met before and after the 1979 ACCH conference.


Canadian child life directors met in Hamilton, Ontario, at Ruth Snider’s initiation, to discuss Canadian child life issues, and agreed to meet yearly.


An Ad Hoc Committee on Structure for Child Life Professional Issues was established at the ACCH Board meeting. The group recommended the formation of the Child Life Council.


Child Life Council (CLC) was formed. In 1983 there were 235 members.


Phoenix Research Project began at Phoenix Children's Hospital, funded by ACCH.Theresults of the studybecame the theoretical framework and justification for child life practice.


Professional certification by method of credentialing was established.


Canadian Association of Child Life Directors was formed (renamed Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders in 1996).


“An experimental evaluation of a model child life program” was published. The conclusion was that “this type of systemic child life care has a significant positive impact on hospitalization.” CLC membership passed 800.


The Vision-to-Action strategic planning initiative for the child life profession was carried out.


The Mission, Values and Vision and Operating Principles for child life specialists were published.


Professional certification by method of examination was established. CLC membership reached 1,500.


CLC sponsored the first annual Child Life Week. Membership reached more than 2,000. About 400 child life programs in existence.


Child Life Council celebrated its 20th anniversary.


CLC membership reached more than 3,000. About 470 documented child life programs in existence.


Child Life Council celebrated its 25th anniversary.


CLC released Child Life Beyond the Hospital, a publication dedicated to the topic of child life practice in alternative settings.