Dear ACLP Community,
In a tumultuous year that brought us the devastating COVID-19 global pandemic, economic turmoil, and a social justice reckoning, the child life community continued to demonstrate its value and resilience. With courage and fortitude, child life faced relentless adversity and steadfastly provided comfort and support during trauma and tragedy. As we reflect back on 2020, we want to honor some of the important work that we- as individuals, child life specialists and as an organization accomplished over the past year.
As COVID-19 disrupted many facets of our lives and work, ACLP was determined to provide relevant resources and support to the child life community. We launched multiple new member engagement programs, providing members with both financial & emotional support. The child life community was able to access timely COVID-19 information from various ACLP resources.
As the country faced a social justice reckoning, ACLP acknowledged and stepped up its response to inequities in the child life community. We brought forward important conversations around race, disparity and access as it relates to our work as an organization and as child life specialists. ACLP launched the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan which names both organizational and personal opportunities we’re committed to accomplishing to become more diverse, inclusive and equitable. As part of this critical work, ACLP spent a significant amount of time in 2020 evaluating our current programs and identifying additional opportunities to reduce barriers and increase access.
ACLP hosted a Think Tank that engaged students, academicians and internship coordinators in reflecting on and developing strategies around the pandemic’s influence on access to academic and clinical training. We also considered how changes in healthcare influence the ability of our members to continue to provide psychosocial care with emotional safety, sensitivity to inherent traumas related to health disparities and the losses related to the pandemic itself.
As many associations have merged, increased dues/fees to offset financial loss, and seen member retention wane, ACLP has remained strong. This strength was fostered by many of our members’ accomplishments. Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, said: "There are uses to adversity, and they don't reveal themselves until tested. Whether it's serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths."
We in child life didn’t just endure 2020, we became stronger. We are grateful for our members’ leadership, collaboration and agility responding to program demands and patient needs during this time of general uncertainty. You inform, inspire, and lead us on how to proceed. We look forward to continuing working collaboratively with you in 2021!