Pledge for Internship Equity and access

As internship coordinators, clinical program leaders, academic program leaders and members of the child life community, we pledge to enact and uphold the following:


  • Include case studies, child life guest speakers, informational interviews, and/or child life related role-play scenarios to offer additional opportunities for student application of development and family systems theories as well as current knowledge gained from the fields of developmental psychology/science and health sciences into child life practice.
  • Focus assignments and discussions on child life assessment (application of theory/science), intervention planning (evidence-based), and evaluation (outcomes and reflection) to enhance student knowledge of child life practice and better preparation for clinical programs (practicum/internship), as well as the child life certification exam.
  • Include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) learning topics, specifically topics of how racial bias, racial trauma and family culture can influence the patient-provider relationship. Incorporate content with respect to social health determinants and multi-cultural theories of child development. Ensure reading lists (textbooks, research, and supplemental materials) include authors of color and appreciation for the variety of child development perspectives that exist amongst cultures. Case studies should also include actionable steps to exercise reflective practice around implicit bias, prejudice and projection; and how (and with whom) one can address discrimination in healthcare settings.

Clinical Preparation:

  • Internship programs should accept both paid and volunteer experience with children.
  • Accept a broader range of hospital related experience for the 100-hour Working with Children, Youth, and Families in a Healthcare Settings requirement. Examples of experience include: child life practicum, hospital volunteer, Child Life Assistant/Activity Coordinator, Pediatric Nursing Assistant, EMS working with pediatric populations, etc. Currently there is no ACLP requirement that indicates an internship applicant, including those applying to an Accredited internship site, must fulfill 100-hours of volunteering in a hospital AND complete the child life practicum. Additionally, there is no ACLP requirement that states students are expected to meet well over the 100-hour minimum requirement for hospital related experience.
  • Accept alternative child life related experience hours (volunteer and/or paid) completed in an alternative setting due to lack of hospital-based programming. This may include community-based, private practice, nonprofit, virtual programming and other agencies that directly support the psychosocial needs of infants, children, youth and families.


Internship Application:

  • If an internship program is going to systematically eliminate every application because of a particular criterion (ie GPA), then those criteria should be posted publicly for all potential applicants to remove hidden requirements.
  • Internship programs should not charge an application fee, if possible. If a fee must be charged, then its use should be transparent and offset the direct costs of the internship program.
  • Internship applicants should not be asked to provide photos or headshots as part of their application.
  • Internship programs should accept unofficial transcripts from applicants, though official transcripts may be requested for accepted interns.

Recommendation forms and letters:

  • Accept recommendation forms and/or letters directly from recommender either via mail, email, or online portal OR accept recommendation forms and/or letters without signed/sealed envelopes. This is due to many recommenders working remotely, lack of funds to bulk mail directly to students, delays in mail service. Utilization of some online services for submission of recommendation letters may require a fee. Consider cost-free sites to collect recommendations. Emailed references should be on letterhead, saved as a non-editable PDF, and emailed directly from the recommender's email.

Essay review:

  • Look for application of development and family systems theories along with current knowledge gained from the field of developmental psychology/science and health sciences, child life competencies, and patient and family-centered care to guide the reviewer's assessment of student’s knowledge and skills for internship readiness.

Course in-progress and course sequencing:

  • Consider that some colleges/universities may be experiencing delays in course offerings due to transitioning courses online. There are also possible financial impacts on students when required by internship programs to complete all coursework prior to application. Such financial impacts may include extension for housing, cost of additional credits, student loan repayment, liability insurance, and affiliation agreements.
  • Note that ACLP Endorsed Academic Programs will provide an official ACLP Endorsed Program Letter of student enrollment along with course progress and timeline for degree completion in lieu of the ACLP Eligibility Assessment. Some students may submit both depending on completed coursework between undergraduate and graduate.

Practicum in-progress:

  • Accept the child life practicum in-progress form. It is extremely challenging for students to secure a child life practicum experience at this time. Also, many practicum programs have been canceled, paused, or continue to delay start dates for accepted students.

Internship Interview:

  • Virtual interviews should be offered at all interview stages of the application process and ensure that virtual interviews are weighted equally with in-person interviews when selecting candidates. *Source: ACLP DEI Action Plan (2020)
  • Advertise your desire to recruit minority candidates for practicums and internships on your website and other PR materials *Source: ACLP DEI Action Plan (2020)
  • Create a scholarship fund to provide financial assistance to minority students during internship. *Source: ACLP DEI Action Plan (2020)


  • Students need to be aware that some hospitals may not be able to accept interns due infection control guidelines and decisions made by senior leadership in relation to COVID.
  • Some students that had their internships paused/cancelled due to COVID have been offered placements for the next internship cycle or when the program approves return of students/interns. Such delays may impact internship programming for ongoing cycles and as such may impact the number of available internship programs.
  • Keep hospital internship programming communication (websites) and the ACLP directory up to date.

Academic Institutions and Clinical Programs Who Have Signed the Pledge:

  • BCCH Child Life

  • Child Life and Family-Centered Care, BU Wheelock College of Education and Human Development

  • Child Life Services at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital

  • Children's Health

  • Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

  • Children's Hospital New Orleans

  • Children's Mercy Hospital

  • Children's Minnesota

  • Children's of Mississippi Child Life Department

  • CoxHealth Dee Ann White Women's and Children's Hospital

  • Dell Children's Medical Center

  • Doernbecher Children's Hospital

  • East Carolina University, Department of Human Development and Family Science

  • Edgewood College

  • Johns Hopkins Child Life Department

  • Loma Linda University

  • Lutheran Children's Hospital

  • Newton-Wellesley Hospital Child Life Program

  • Oishei Children's Hospital

  • Shriners Hospitals for Children - Spokane

  • Sidra Medicine

  • Syracuse University

  • Tennessee Technological University - School of Human Ecology

  • Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers - Psychosocial Division

  • Texas Children's Hospital

  • The University of Iowa

  • Towson University

  • University of Minnesota

  • University of Missouri Department of Human Development and Family Science

  • UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

  • Vanderbilt University


In 2020 ACLP conducted an Internship Review and Selection Think Tank. This multi-session process brought leaders in both the academic and clinical worlds as well as recent interns together to assess areas of opportunity within the current internship process. Through this meeting, the ACLP Board has identified the following directives which together form the Pledge for Internship Equity and Access. These are upheld and supported by ACLP’s committees including Education & Training; Internship Accreditation Oversight; Academic Review; and the Child Life Certification Commission in recognition that it will take the entire community to advance our shared goal of creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive child life education and training experience for all.