Board of Directors


President - Stephanie Hopkinson, MA, CCLS

Stephanie is the Senior Child Life Manager at Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospitals (KACCH). Prior to moving to Kuwait Stephanie was the Child Life Clinical Educator at Sidra Research and Medical Center in Doha, Qatar. Stephanie’s journey in Child Life includes over 25 years of clinical and academic experience. In May of 2013 Stephanie received the Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award in recognition for her exemplary child life work and high level of clinical skill. Stephanie has worked at several hospitals including Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), and Kaiser Permanente. During her time at KACCH, Sidra, Yale and CHLA Stephanie co-developed and implemented the child life internship programs. In addition to her professional commitments Stephanie’s dedication to child life includes volunteering her time with Operation Smile. Through Operation Smile she has traveled with a multidisciplinary team to provide child life services in Kenya, the Philippines, and Malawi. She was invited and currently serves on the child life specialty council for the organization.

Stephanie is an accomplished speaker, trainer and writer. Among her many accomplishments is the delivery of numerous international and national presentations on child life, leadership, reflective practice, professional care, and reflective supervision, including keynote addresses on race, ethnicity and culture, resiliency, and reflective practice. She has written chapters in books including a chapter in a pediatric psychosocial oncology textbook and in Beyond the Hospitals, an ACLP publication. As a respected educator, she has served as Senior Adjunct Faculty at Pacific Oaks College, as an Instructor at UCLA-Extension, and as lead consultant and curriculum design specialist for Full Circle Consulting Systems, Inc., an international firm that offers training and technical assistance for children, youth and families. 


President-Elect - Jill Koss, MS, CCLS

When Jill discovered child life in graduate school in 1988, she realized she had found her career, and hasn't looked back since. She started as a child life specialist at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, and 27 years later is the Director of Family Support Services there. She has been involved in many aspects of ACLP over the years, from Vision-to-Action in 1996; to years of work with Certification, serving as Senior Chair from 2008 to 2009 and still currently sitting on the Appeals Committee; participating in the Leadership Development Mentor Program; to being on the Board of Directors from 2014 to 2016. She also had numerous opportunities to be involved in International Child Life and Child Friendly Healthcare initiatives over the years, for which she is very thankful. Driving values for Jill are holding a growth mindset, owning accountability, and having integrity. 

She has been fortunate to have been mentored by many strong child life leaders, as well as opportunities to work side-by-side with phenomenal child life professionals. She believes the child life profession is thriving even in the face of changes in healthcare because we are strong professionals who are committed to making the psychosocial/emotional needs of children and youth a priority. She is as committed as ever to working hard towards this goal as all children and youth should have access to child life services.

Kristin Maier

Past President - Eileen Clark, MSM, CCLS

Eileen has been a member of the ACLP since 1989. She has consulted for the Child Life Council Program Review service and was a committee member of the Corporate Advisory Council Task Force, chair of the Leadership Development Committee, a member of the Governance Committee Policy Work Group, and, most recently, ACLP Board president. Eileen is the Family Services Manager at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin with oversight for the following programs: Child Life and Expressive Therapies, Spiritual Care, Bereavement and Volunteer Services.

Eileen worked as a child life specialist in oncology for 15 years prior to her leadership position. During her tenure as a CCLS she was instrumental in implementing special programming for grief and bereavement as well as young adult and sibling support groups that are still operational today. Eileen’s passion for staff support was ignited through leading a Six Sigma Project incorporating a healthy and emotionally supportive work environment for staff caring for a child at end-of-life. Eileen also participated in a research role via the National Institute for Health within the palliative care program.


Secretary - Jenaya Gordon, MA, CCLS, NCC

Jenaya is the Child Life Manager at Children's Hospital Colorado. Her child life career began in 2001 at Children’s Medical Center Dallas where she worked on the inpatient surgical/trauma and neurosurgery units. Jenaya moved to Colorado in 2004 to pursue her graduate degree in counseling psychology. She was an individual and family therapist for 4 years, working with at-risk children and adolescents. In 2008, she joined the child life team at Children’s Hospital Colorado, furthering her experience by working in the inpatient surgical/trauma unit, the emergency department, and in the pediatric intensive care unit before moving into management.
Jenaya presents locally and nationally on the importance of creating an emotionally safe environment in pediatrics, facilitating trauma processing, and providing trauma-informed care. She has presented webinars and conference sessions for the Association of Child Life Professionals, the Beryl Institute, and multiple EMS outreach conferences. Jenaya is a contributing author of a chapter on trauma focused medical play in a newly released book on medical play written by child life specialists and play therapists.

Kim Stephens Pic 1         

Treasurer - Kim Stephens, MPA, CCLS

Kim is the Child Life Manager at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. With over 28 years of clinical and leadership experience as a child life professional, Kim has worked previously at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland Ohio and Golisano Children’s Hospital formerly known as Strong Children’s Medical Center in Rochester, New York prior to moving to Texas in 2009. Kim received her Bachelor’s Degree from Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1989 and then completed her Master’s Degree in Public Administration in Health Care at the State University of New York in Brockport, NY in 1996. Kim has served as an ACLP Mentor, two terms as a Child Life Council Focus Review member, two terms as a Child Life Council exam writer, and served on the Child Life Council Vision to Action Committee that served as a planning board to provide a vision and action plan to guide the future of the child life profession. She has given presentations at local, regional, and national conferences, including the National Hemophilia Association’s Annual conference, the Child Life Annual Conference, the Texas Pediatric Palliative Care Consortium and the Texas Pediatric Society.


Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders Liaison - Lois Wolgemuth, CCLS

With a diploma in Early Childhood Development, a bachelor of arts degree, a certificate in Play Therapy and several specialized trainings in grief and loss, trauma informed care, and leadership, Lois has worked as a Child Life Specialist for over 33 years. Her career includes frontline work specializing in pediatric oncology (20 years), programming for adolescents (7 years) and a private practice providing child life services in the community (7 years). In 2014 she transitioned into a leadership position and currently manages Child Life services at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. This hospital is one of the largest and most specialized children’s hospitals in Canada and serves the most geographically diverse areas of any children’s hospitals in the world serving over 20% indigenous patients and families. She is passionate about the field of Child Life and has dedicated her life’s work to enhancing pediatric psychosocial care for children, youth and families.

Bindy Sweett

Child Life Certification Commission Chair - Bindy Sweett, CCLS

Bindy's work with children and families began in 1969 as an Early Childhood Educator, and she completed her bachelor's degree at the University of Victoria (UVIC) in 1988. She has been cheerfully involved with the CLC/ACLP since gaining certification in 1989, when she attended her first CLC conference as a co-presenter. She enjoyed presenting for many years following, often with friends and colleagues she met through the Council, and has also presented for other organisations.

With the advent of the child life examination, Bindy served as an item writer, which stimulated her interest in more committee work. Since that time, she has served on the CLC/ACLP board of directors twice, once as the CLCC Chair and once as a Director. While she worked her entire child life career as a clinician, she also taught ECE for 15 years at Langley College and Child Life for 10 years at UVIC. She worked with the CLC Internship Task Force, contributing in partnership to the development of the internship modules and resources for supervisors, as well as with the Internship Accreditation Committee, the Program Review and Program Standards Committees, and others.

Bindy continues to volunteer with the Children’s Heart Network in British Columbia after retirement from BC Children’s Hospital, where she worked with outstanding child life and cardiac teams and many others. She received Excellence in Education Awards and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Partners in Care at BCCH for her commitment to families, and received the Mary Barkey Clinical Award from CLC in 2010, for which she is forever grateful. Her commitment to students, families and children remains strong, as does her responsibility to ACLP and CCLS certification. She is the proud single parent of one loving son and the bereaved parent of a plucky and determined daughter, who both continue to motivate my volunteer work for the rights and needs of children.


  Jen Sciolla

Director - Jen Sciolla, MS, CTRS, CCLS

Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from Temple University and her Master of Science from Nova Southeastern University. For over 20 years, Jen has worked in many the Delaware Valley region’s premier healthcare systems as a clinician and leader. Her professional passions include autism, trauma and programming. She is a longtime adjunct instructor at Temple University. Jen serves on the Program Review & Development Service as well as Benchmarking & Datacenter Subcommittee. She has shared her expertise and knowledge about child life, family centered care and therapeutic recreation, giving many presentations and lectures across a wide variety of audiences and forums. In 2014, Jen assumed the role of Director at Nemours Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children. She provides leadership to the Child Life, Creative Arts Therapy and School Programs and the Integrative Medicine Program.

Jessika Boles

Director - Cara Sisk, PhD, CCLS

Cara earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Harding University and a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Life from the University of Missouri. Cara has eleven years of clinical practice experience as a Certified Child Life Specialist serving children and adolescents with various diagnoses in both inpatient and outpatient health care settings.  She is dedicated to family-centered care and was privileged to work with the parents and siblings of the pediatric patients she served. This work as a psychosocial practitioner was critical in Cara’s professional development and is foundational to her academic interests. 
In 2011, Cara became the Child Life Program Director for the School of Human Ecology at Tennessee Technological University where she currently teaches undergraduate students as a tenured instructor. A career transition to academics has been an excellent fit for her strength of educating people while also allowing her to share the mission of child life. Cara enjoys her role teaching in higher education to prepare future child life specialists. 
Cara earned her Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Exceptional Learning with a concentration in Young Children and Families from Tennessee Technological University in 2016. She is dedicated to doing research to positively impact the health care of children with special health care needs and disabilities. Cara’s dissertation research is titled Children with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities: Perceptions of Health Care Experiences. This research integrated her interests of children in health care with therapeutic tools she used in her practice as a child life specialist. 

Divna Wheelwright

Director - Divna Wheelwright, MA, CCLS 

Divna has been a Certified Child Life Specialist since graduating from Tufts University in 2011 with a Master’s in child development. First introduced to child life through her work with the Hole in the Wall Gang, Divna's commitment to the field is built upon the principles of patient advocacy, cultural humility and the empowerment of the underserved. Hunter S. Thompson provided Divna with her guiding adage as a clinician and leader when he wrote: "Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing."

Divna’s first appointment was at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where she worked from 2012-2015 in the Emergency Department with a special focus on grant writing and program development. In 2015 Divna graduated from the ACLP's inaugural Leadership Academy class and has since written articles for the ACLP Bulletin, Journal of Palliative Medicine and Hopkins Magazine. Divna joined the child life department at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in 2015 and the following year was promoted to Manager of Child Life and Volunteer Services. In 2018 Divna transitioned to California to begin as Manager of Child Life Services at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.

Divna currently serves as a member of the Child Life Focus Review Board, Leadership Development Committee, and Advanced Professional Development Committee.

 Janet Cross

Director - Janet Cross, MEd, CCLS, CPXP

Janet is the Administrative Director of Patient- and Family-Centered Care at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  She is responsible for development, implementation, and evaluation of patient- and family-centered care initiatives as well as oversight of Child Life Services, Volunteer Services, Pastoral Care, Family Resource Center, Hospital School Program, Music Therapy, Art Therapy, Seacrest Studios, Patient and Family Advisory Councils, Patient Experience, Patient Education. Janet obtained her Master of Education from Vanderbilt University and her Bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University. She is a certified Child Life Specialist through the Association of Child Life Professionals. and also a Certified Patient Experience Professional through the Patient Experience Institute. Janet was awarded the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Child Life Council, is the recipient of the 2011 Judy Koonce Family-Centered Care Award, and was named a finalist as a "Woman of Influence” by the Nashville Business Journal in 2012.

She served as chair for the Child Life Certifying Committee (1996-98). From 2007 to 2009, she served in the roles of President-Elect, President, and Immediate-Past President. She chaired the Nashville CLC Conference Host Committee in 2005, and has been a member of a wide array of CLC committees and task forces over the years, including the Ethics Committee and Governance Task Force. She is one of five leaders selected as a program reviewer for the CLC Program Review and Development Service. Janet’s written contributions to the child life field include a chapter on child life administration in Richard Thompson’s Handbook of Child Life (2009).  She is also a member of the Nashville Ronald McDonald House Corporate Board and the Advisory Board for Cooper’s Troopers, a foundation for the support of siblings of children with cancer.  She is currently serving as the chair of the Pastoral Advisory Group associated with the Clinical Pastoral Education Program in Nashville.  


CEO - Jennifer Lipsey, MA

Jen is proud to be ACLP's CEO, a role in which she works to align resources and strategic initiatives to reach ACLP's strategic goals. She has a bachelor's degree in Child & Family Development and a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy. Jen’s career ambitions have consistently led her to organizations with missions that involve advocacy for under-represented/marginalized populations, and she has found a home with ACLP. As a mother to two young daughters, Jen has a deep appreciation for the art and skill intrinsic to the child life profession and aims to support ACLP members who so generously give to others every day. She pursues rich conversations, meaningful outcomes and dynamics that result in long-term partnerships. Jen welcomes all opportunities to engage others in appreciating the depth of child life and increasing exposure to ACLP’s members.

Bailey Kasten COO

COO - Bailey Kasten

Bailey serves as the Chief Operating Officer and works with staff, volunteers, vendors and strategic partners to ensure the successful implementation of the Association’s goals and objectives.  In her role, she is committed to ensuring the organization reflects the strength, professionalism, creativity, and compassion of the child life community we serve, support, and champion. She is a proud graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and has over 13 years of association management experience. Bailey is the proud mother of two young children and the grateful recipient of child life services herself. When not at work, you can find her either playing outside with the kids, working in her beloved gardens, or helping with her family business, a chocolate company.