Addressing Staffing Crisis & Salary Concerns Within the Child Life Profession

December 2023

As part of our commitment to continued transparency and open communication, we wanted to provide you with an update about the ongoing efforts of the Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP) to address the staffing crisis and concerns related to low wages that many of our members have raised.

First and foremost, we understand the daily challenges that many child life professionals face, particularly when it comes to vacant positions, shortage of clinical supervisors, compensation imbalance, increased workload, and burnout. This is a problem that deeply concerns us. Compensation levels are not reflective of the critical role child life specialists play in supporting children and families. The emotional and psychological support provided by child life specialists is immense, and it is only fair that salary compensation should align with the significance of this work.

While ACLP is unable to directly control or impose pay rates at individual hospitals or healthcare institutions, we recognize the significance of fair and competitive compensation for child life professionals. We want to assure you that the ACLP is actively working on solutions to influence organizations to advocate for improved compensation structures. One way we are doing this is through the approval of the new Child Life Leadership Development Task Force. This task force will be charged with creating resources to address specific needs of the child life workforce. Their leading task will be to develop a salary advocacy toolkit that child life specialists can use when meeting with hospital decision-makers.

We also recognize the power of a collective voice, therefore ACLP is also exploring opportunities to collaborate with healthcare organizations and stakeholders to emphasize the importance of incorporating child life services, adequate staffing, and fair compensation for child life professionals. Our nonprofit designation limits the amount of time paid staff can spend on advocacy work, consequently, ACLP leadership is focusing on coalition building to strengthen advocacy efforts. For example, establishing new relationships with attendees of the Emotional Safety Summit II as well as the continuation of a Certified Child Life Specialist serving as the ACLP liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Hospital Care.

While the road ahead may be challenging, the ACLP remains dedicated to supporting its members and advocating for positive change within the field of child life. We encourage you to stay engaged, share your successful outcomes in workforce advocacy efforts, and actively participate in the initiatives and resources that the ACLP is developing to address these issues.


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