ACLP Bulletin | Winter 2023 | VOL. 41 No. 1

Lindsay Heering, MS, CCLS
2023 is off to a strong start for ACLP. The February ACLP Board of Directors meeting was virtual and focused on board reports from the Governance Committee and the Internship Accreditation Oversight Committee (IAOC), along with an update on the upcoming ACLP Think Tank. IAOC presented revisions to the internship accreditation standards establishing congruency with our new Internship Readiness Common Application. The ACLP Board of Directors application process is also under way. Following the November board application deadline, the Nominations Committee reviewed applications and completed interviews this month. The Board of Directors slate will be made public in April for membership vote. Based on consultant recommendations, following the evaluation of our Nominating Committee’s working documents and entire process, several improvements were made for the current application round. Moving forward, we’ll be developing a road map to guide our continuous process improvement.

ACLP has maintained our intentional focus on building an environment and culture that is inclusive, transparent, and respects our members of every race, identity, and community. To uphold ACLP’s commitment to providing a professional, safe, and welcoming environment for all members, the Governance Committee cultivated an ACLP Membership Code of Conduct (the “Code”). The Code outlines expectations for our members to foster a positive environment for one another and our affiliates. Best practices and standards of conduct guidelines informed the development of our Code. When enrolling in and continuing ACLP membership, our members will commit to standards of conduct. An associated Membership Disciplinary Policy and Membership Disciplinary Complaint Form will add procedural parameters to guide the integrity, accountability, and adherence to the Code. Once finalized, these documents will be housed on the ACLP website for transparency to our members.

With the upcoming think tank focused on the staffing crisis and the pathway to our profession,
we have identified the following outcomes: 1) increased collaboration between academic and
clinical sites, 2) increased support for internship supervisors, and 3) increased program leader engagement. To alleviate the staffing crisis and increase access to our profession, we need to work more collaboratively. This is incredibly complex given the wide-ranging variety in the way that our clinical and academic programs function. We have experienced an exponential amount of turnover in child life across the US and Canada, more than our profession has ever faced in its history. For various reasons, internship placements have become even more limited than they were before the pandemic, which has led to a downstream impact of job postings remaining open with limited applicants for extended periods of time. These vacancies and continuous onboarding subsequently compound child life specialist fatigue and burnout. This is a complicated and cyclical issue. By bringing our interested parties (academia, internship coordinators, child life specialists, program leaders, and aspiring professionals) together, we will strategize ways to improve our current and future state.

Earlier this month, Alison Heron, ACLP CEO, and I traveled to Hong Kong to learn about their delivery of child life and hospital play services. Our trip was funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and Playright Academy to help advocate for child life as an essential service within their pediatric healthcare system. During our time in Hong Kong, we met with healthcare executives, presidents and chairmen of various healthcare associations, government officials, funding sources, their child life specialists, and various medical teams. We spent time at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital and the Prince of Wales Hospital, to understand how pediatric services are delivered within their public hospital system. We were also invited to present at their PLAY for Child Health seminar at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital. Our time in Hong Kong was a fruitful and engaging experience. We were impressed by the quality of work being done by our Hong Kong child life colleagues and the number of champions
and advocates for child life and hospital play. We’re looking forward to continued partnership to help advance their infrastructure and foster further growth and development of the child life profession within Hong Kong.

Looking ahead to March, we’re also looking forward to Child Life Month and celebrating the impact child life has on children, families, and the quality and culture of care within our institutions. I am continually inspired by the talent, skills, and creativity of our child life community. Thank you for bringing continued passion and dedication to your work. We appreciate those serving as first responders for emotional safety, those teaching our next generation of child life professionals, and those in pursuit of a child life career. Thank you for all you do!

Lindsay Heering, MS, CCLS