In 1982, the independent Child Life Council (CLC) was established with its own officers and its own professional development conference. A method of professional certification was adopted that assured a standard of practice for child life specialists, and by 1998 a standardized Child Life Professional Certification Examination was in place. By the end of the 1980s, extensive criteria and supporting documents had been produced: program review tools, requirements of professional competency, outlines of how to start a child life program, standards of clinical practice, and standards of educational preparation.
Today, child life professionals work and influence the delivery of care in both healthcare and community settings. Certified Child Life Specialists work in pediatric in-patient units including critical care units, and in outpatient areas including emergency departments, radiology and imaging, specialty care clinics, and behavioral and rehabilitation facilities. They also work in other settings such as community outreach programs, private practice, hospice services, home health, camps for children with healthcare needs, private medical and dental practices, and services to children of adult patients. Child life specialists continue to help infants, children, youth, and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury and treatment.