Call for Abstracts: 2021 Child Life Annual Conference

The 2021 annual conference will provide an opportunity to highlight the challenges, opportunities, and growth the child life community has experienced surviving COVID-19. We are seeking content specific to how you (or your program) demonstrated timely, innovative responses to the urgent demands from patients, families, and administration reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • In a time when normalcy ceased to exist and consistency and precedence were replaced with reaction and shut downs, how did child life step up to preserve the stability, emotional wholeness, and morale of patients, families, and colleagues?
  • What have you/your program implemented to be prepared for the next pandemic/crisis?
  • What have you presented to leadership to defend and preserve child life staffing positions?
  • How have you managed burn-out and made time for staff to focus on self-development, mental health, and emotional stability during the pandemic?
  • How do you interpret and respond to difficulties and challenges during adverse situations? What personal strengths have you developed that improve clinical practice as well as your ability to adapt to the huge changes in the world? (Examples include adaptability, flexibility, reflective practice, and resilience.)
  • Do you have a success story about incorporating telehealth into your child life practice that offers insight into factors that should be considered when discussing increased telehealth engagement?
The online submission portal will open on July 1, 2020 and close at 11:59 pm Eastern on July 31, 2020. For more information, please download the 2021 Call for Abstract Guidelines.
The 2021 Child Life Conference is scheduled for May 27–30, 2021 at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles,California.

Anyone is eligible to submit an abstract. We encourage everyone to submit, including students, researchers, health care providers from diverse organizations and fields.

Log into your ACLP profile to select the link to submit an abstract. The link to submit an abstract through the online submission portal will be available on July 1st.  Abstract acceptance and non-acceptance communications will be sent out in mid-October.

Click Here to Submit an Abstract

NOTE: A successfully submitted abstract will indicate "Staff Review" as its status. If your submission is showing as "Pending" it has not been submitted successfully and as a result will not be considered. Please log into your profile to view your submission status and/or make corrections to your abstract submission. For more information, or if you have any questions, please email Ramona Spencer at or download the 2021 Call for Abstract Guidelines.

Abstract Submission Overview

Benefits of Presenting

Presenting offers the opportunity to:

  • Improve the child life profession
  • Share creative ideas and best practices
  • Demonstrate your leadership
  • Expand your industry recognition
  • Network with your peers
  • Receive discounted full conference registration
  • Earn PDUs

Suggested Presentation Formats

The committee is seeking all forms of professional development with an emphasis on interactive, experimental learning:

  • Sessions (1 hour)
  • Workshops (1.5 hours)
  • Half-day intensives (3 hours)
  • Virtual Poster presentations

Presentation Domains

To assist attendees in meeting their certification requirements, we encourage submissions in the following domains:

  • Professional Responsibility
    • Ethics
  • Assessment
  • Intervention

Suggested Presentation Level

The committee is particularly interested in proposals of advanced level workshops developed for attendees with more than 10 years of experience, and completed research in the areas of play, medical play, bereavement support, and sibling support.

Additional Suggested Topics

Additional suggested presentation topics for 2021 include innovative ideas and best practices in the following areas:

  • Academic & clinical preparation
  • Age-specific
  • Bereavement/Grief
  • Community-based child life
  • Cultural competency
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Diagnosis-specific (i.e., autism, sickle cell, etc.)
  • Documentation
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Ethics
  • Families
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Leadership development
  • Management strategies
  • Medical play
  • Palliative care
  • Play
  • Preparation
  • Program development
  • Research (completed)
  • School issues
  • Self-care/personal development
  • Specialty areas (i.e., emergency, oncology, etc.)
  • Technology
  • Therapeutic play
  • Other

Professional Development