DSA Award (1366 × 300 px) (3)

Since 1988, the Association of Child Life Professionals has honored the child life profession’s leaders and pioneers with the annual Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor presented by the ACLP Board of Directors, recognizing exceptional leaders for outstanding contributions to the field of child life. 

Any Certified Child Life Specialist who has a career of demonstrated leadership and outstanding contributions to the field of child life in any of the following key areas:

  • Professional experience – has amassed a body of work consistent with excellence in the profession
  • Contributions to the child life profession & ACLP – may include publications, presentations at professional conferences, significant work in academia, education of and outreach to others outside the profession
  • ACLP Leadership – committee or task force leadership, board service, etc.
  • Long-lasting impact of contributions to the child life profession  – development of future professionals/leaders in the field, development of tools or processes emulated by others, willingness to share with others in order to advance the profession, activities which will serve as a legacy within the profession
  • Integrity – reputation inside and outside of the child life community
  • Visionary – able to formulate and motivate a group toward a clear image of the aspired to future, participates in strategic initiatives to advance the profession

No present ACLP Board member is eligible for nomination. 
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DSA Award (1366 × 300 px) (4)

Step 1: Nominate an Individual

Anyone may nominate a qualified individual for the Distinguished Service Award. The Awards Committee encourages nominations of diverse candidates that include Black, Indigenous and Native American, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ+ and members with different abilities and gender identities as well as those from varying geographical areas, program sizes, and cultural backgrounds.

Nominator Responsibilities:

  • Submit the initial nominator form by August 7-18, 2023 at 11:59pm EST.
  • Serve as author(s) of the article honoring the recipient featured in the summer issue of the ACLP Bulletin.
  • If the nominator chooses, create a video that will honor the recipient and be played during the opening session at the ACLP Child Life Annual Conference 
All nominations must be made before August 18 at 11:59pm EST.


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Step 2: Complete the Application

The nominator completing the initial nomination form is considered to be the primary endorser who will gather all the application documents to be submitted in the DSA application.

Submit the DSA application and supporting documents below by September 15 at 11:59pm EST. The DSA Application and supporting documents include the following:

  • Two Endorsement forms (one Management / Administration and one Colleague Form)
  • Brief Summary of individual
  • Copy of the Individual's resume/CV
  • One letter of support from either a student/mentee OR patient/family
For submission tips, review the DSA Submission Tips Document.

The DSA Application and supporting documents must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on September 15, 2023. 


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Step 3: ACLP Awards Committee Selects Winner

Following the final submission deadline, the Awards Committee will review all completed applications and suggest a recipient to the ACLP Board of Directors. All nominees and the Primary Endorser will be notified of the final decision by the end 2023. The formal presentation of the Distinguished Service Award will take place during the Child Life Annual Conference. 

Please contact awards@childilfe.org with any additional questions about the award application or selection process.

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DSA Award webpage graphics

The ACLP Distinguished Service Award is presented to an individual child life specialist who has demonstrated an exemplary child life career and dedication to the profession. You can find previous award recipients here.

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Child Life Profession