Code and Guidelines for Professional Conduct

The Association of Child Life Professionals subscribes to a body of ethical principles which are in accordance with the Child Life Mission, Values and Vision Statements and Operating Principles and which are derived primarily for the benefit and protection of infants, children, youth and families in settings where the potential for damaging stress or trauma exists.

Child life professionals (including specialists, administrators, assistants, and students) share as goals:

  • Maximizing the physical and emotional health as well as the social, cognitive and developmental abilities of children*
  • Minimizing the potential stress and trauma that children and their families may experience.

Toward these ends, child life professionals recognize that they are ethically responsible to:

  • Infants, children, youth, and families;
  • Other professionals;
  • Staff, students and volunteers who are receiving training and supervision; and -
  • Themselves, both personally and professionally.

It is understood that ethical behavior should not result from edict but from a personal commitment on the part of the individual as a professional. In any situation, the course of action chosen is expected to be consistent with the ethical principles either stated or implied herein.

Code of Ethical Responsibility

  • Principle 1

  • Principle 2

  • Principle 3

  • Principle 4

  • Principle 5

  • Principle 6

  • Principle 7

  • Principle 8

  • Principle 9

  • Principle 10

  • Principle 11

  • Principle 12

  • Principle 13

*Unless modified, refers to infants, children and youth.
**Individuals refers to child life professionals, including specialists, administrators, assistants, and  students. 

Guidelines for Online Networking


The growing popularity of social media technologies is changing the way that we engage with one another online. With a wide array of tools available, an increasing number of child life professionals are joining the discussion, participating in online social networks, sharing videos and photos, creating blogs, contributing to wikis, and more. In addition to their personal applications, these social media tools offer unique opportunities to enrich your professional experience, providing new ways to connect with, learn from, and support your colleagues. Social media empowers each of us as communicators in a global online community.

As with any community, there are guidelines—both written and unwritten—governing behavior in online social networks. Many of these guidelines are universal in nature, but there are additional considerations for individuals who work with children in healthcare and other settings. As members of a professional community bound by codes of conduct outlined in the ACLP Code of Ethical Responsibility, child life professionals already have a strong set of principles to guide them in their practice. The ACLP  Web and Online Networking Task Force recommends the following online networking guidelines specifically for the child life community. Where applicable, each guideline references one or more relevant principles from the Code of Ethical Responsibility, which is included in its entirety on the final page of this document. 

ACLP Guidelines for Online Networking

  • Communicate with sensitivity.

  • Be mindful of your audience.

  • Do not "friend" patients.

  • Let people know who you are.

  • Add value.

  • Write about what you know.

  • Admit to your mistakes.

  • Respect copyright rules.

  • Protect the rights of others.

  • Remember your day job.

  • Stop. Think. Then Post.