Distinguished Service Award


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 members for outstanding contributions to the field of child life. For the first time this year, nomination packages are available to individuals who would like to nominate an ACLP member who they see as a visionary leader in child life.

Eligibility & Criteria

Any Association of Child Life Professionals member in good standing who has a career of demonstrated leadership and outstanding contributions to the field of child life in 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 and ACLP – 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

Nomination Process

Anyone may nominate a qualified ACLP member for the Distinguished Service Award.

Note: You will need to download or print the nomination and endorsement forms before completing them. Submit all documents to awards@childlife.org.

Please print out the DSA Checklist to ensure you submit all necessary documents.

  • Completed DSA Initial Nomination Form 
  • Copy of resume/CV
  • Brief summary describing what makes the nominee an excellent candidate (one page maximum)

*The person completing the initial nomination form will gather all nomination package materials and submit them to the Awards Committee for review. This person does not have to be the one to complete the endorsement forms. Please note that whoever nominates the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award will serve as author(s) of the article honoring the recipient, which will be featured in the ACLP Bulletin.

Completed endorsement forms:

Submit all documents to awards@childlife.org.

No present ACLP Board member is eligible for nomination.

Selection Process

Each year following the final submission deadline, the Awards Committee will review all complete award applications and recommend a nominee to the ACLP Board of Directors, which will choose the award recipient. All nominees and the Primary Endorser will be notified of the final decision by early January 2020. The formal presentation of the Distinguished Service Award will take place during the Child Life Annual Conference.

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

Previous Recipients

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.

Child Life Profession