Coping with illness, injury and treatment is often challenging and stressful for children, adolescents and their family.

For children, hospitalization can lead to feelings of fear, confusion, loss of control, and isolation that can inhibit their natural development and have a negative effect on their physical and emotional health.

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Child Life In Action!

All Certified Child Life Specialists have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They also have completed required coursework on the developmental impact of illness and hospitalization and a clinical internship of at least 480 hours under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist.

Certification by the Association of Child Life Professionals helps ensure a high level of competency in child life specialists to provide essential patient- and family-centered care.

Certified Child Life Specialists® (CCLS) work with everyone who is part of your child's care team to reduce distress associated with care and treatment and create a more positive experience for your child and family.

Ask for a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS)!

How a Certified Child Life Specialist Can Help Your Family

Certified Child Life Specialists® provide interventions...

Including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education that support and reduce fear, anxiety, pain, and suffering for children, siblings and families.

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Certified Child Life Specialists® are educated and trained...

To help your child and family better understand and cope with having an illness or injury. Their role helps to improve your child's care and treatment, increases satisfaction and leads to a better overall healthcare experience for your entire family.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed the role of the Certified Child Life Specialist and US New & World Report has recognized that expertise in child life:

  • Is a vital variable in the success of pediatric care, and AAP Statement FULL_Page_1
  • Counts it as a key quality indicator in hospital rankings. 

Certification by the Association of Child Life Professionals...

helps ensure a high level of competency in child life specialists to provide essential patient- and family-centered care.

learn more...

How Certified Child Life Specialists Help...

What a CCLS does...
Helping kids cope with cancer...
"Therapeutic Play" is an important intervention for CCLS's...

Resources for Parents

Find Child Life Services

Hospital/Clinical Based
Community Based (Private Practice)

FIND Child Life

Leading surveys of the top children’s hospitals as conducted by both U.S. News and World Report and Parent magazine recognize child life as one of the specific variables in determining pediatric quality care.

Olmsted MG, McFarlane E, Murphy J, et al. (2011) Methodology: U.S. News & World Report’s best children’s hospitals 2011-2012.

Useful Articles

  • Finding Voice: A Literature Review Of Narrative Interventions For Young Adults With HIV

    Oct 19, 2016
    ABSTRACT The ability to construct and openly share one’s illness story has been shown to support positive coping with a chronic diagnosis. Individuals diagnosed with a stigmatizing illness such as HIV are less likely to disclose their illness story to others due to fear of discrimination or rejection. As advances in HIV treatment result in a growing cohort of young adults with HIV learning to manage their chronic condition, stigma surrounding the diagnosis often hinders the ability to share illness narratives and construct illness stories. In an effort to support child life specialists and other clinicians caring for the mental health of young adults with HIV, this paper presents narrative interventions designed to assist young adults coping with HIV-related stigma.
    Full Story
  • "D" is for Disenfranchised Grief

    Oct 19, 2016
    “Bearing witness” and “holding space” for grieving parents after their child dies, providing an outlet of expression for siblings, and facilitating debriefings for staff have all allowed me glimpses into the manifold ways in which grief is experienced.
    Full Story

Child Life in the News

  • Each Patient—And Family—Prepares for the Unthinkable Differently

    Jun 16, 2017
  • Easing Kids' Fears About a Trip to the Hospital

    Jun 09, 2017
  • Connecting with Children of Adult Patients

    May 17, 2017
  • In an Emergency, Do This to Help Your Child With Autism

    May 17, 2017

Help your Child

Parents - Download Useful Information!

Studies have found that child life interventions are instrumental in calming children’s fears and result in higher patient satisfaction ratings of the entire care experience.

Madhok, M., Milner, D., Teele, M., Finkelstein, M. (2007) Child life services and patient satisfaction in emergency department. Pediatr Emerg Care. Vol 23(10):764.