Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award


The ACLP Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award is presented to an individual child life specialist who has demonstrated exemplary child life care and a high level of clinical skill. Each year, the Board of Directors will consider nominations and select one recipient, with an award presentation at the ACLP Annual Conference.

Eligibility & Criteria

Any Association of Child Life Professionals member in good standing, who spends at least 75% of his or her work hours serving in a direct clinical role, and meets the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates the ability to work collaboratively with other health care team disciplines in the delivery of patient care which results in positive outcomes for patients 
  • Models exemplary practice of child life  through critical thinking, inquiry, evaluation, and a commitment to continuous improvement 
  • Demonstrates advanced competence and an ability to provide effective interventions in a variety of situations
  • Models child life practice and team behaviors that acknowledge and respect the diversity of patients/families and members of the health care team
  • Demonstrates strong professionalism and values-driven interactions that include clear, supportive, boundaries-sensitive, and professional relationships with patients and families
  • Exercises sensitivity to the individual circumstances of patients/families and provides supporting and nurturing care 
  • Embraces and models the core concepts of patient- and family-centered care including information-sharing to support patient/family participation, collaboration and involvement in their care 
  • Participates in the development and incorporation of evidence-based practice
  • Mentors new child life specialists and students in developing child life competencies and supporting the effective transition to professional practice
  • Actively participates as a member of the Association of Child Life Professionals

Nomination Process

Anyone may nominate a qualified ACLP member for the Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award.

 You will need to download or print the nomination and endorsement forms before completing them. Submit all documents to

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

  • Completed Endorsement Form by two endorsers, both of whom must be ACLP members in good standing 
  • A letter of support from a current or past employer’s department head or hospital administration
  • A current resume
No present ACLP Board member is eligible for nomination.  

In order to build/present a strong nomination for each candidate, nominators are asked to provide specific behavioral examples in each section of the Exemplars form. The Awards Committee will carefully examine the information provided in order to recommend the strongest candidate for this award. Please refer to the Submission Tips Sheet for additional guidance on completing the forms.

All initial nominations must be submitted no later than August 7, 2019. All complete entries with supporting documentation are due no later than September 28, 2019. Submissions must be sent to

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 Mary Barkey Award will serve as author(s) of the article honoring the recipient, which will be featured in the ACLP Bulletin.

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 Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award will take place during the Child Life Annual Conference.

Please contact with any additional questions about the award application. 

Previous Recipients

The ACLP Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award is presented to an individual child life specialist who has demonstrated exemplary child life care and a high level of clinical skill. You can find previous award recipients here.

Child Life Profession