Lisa A. Ciarrocca has been a certified child life specialist for more than 30 years, starting out in a one-person program and advancing to Child Life Manager at The Goryeb Children’s Hospital (Morristown NJ). Lisa was responsible for the development and leadership of a system-wide child life program. Lisa's experience working with children, adolescents, families, and other professionals in and out of the healthcare setting enabled her to think outside of the box—expanding her child life role into the community and opening her own child life private practice, The Next Step: Partners in Psychosocial Care LLC (Fanwood, NJ), seven years ago.
At her core, Lisa is a true child life clinician. She upholds the value of working and engaging with other professionals on the healthcare team, including parents, to support a holistic approach to helping children and families cope with their medical and life experiences. She shares through storytelling that the value of this collaboration with the medical team, especially in a private-practice setting, is critical to helping children and families cope with all that takes place both inside and out of the hospital.
As a CCLS practicing in the community, Lisa feels it is important to recognize that families have diverse values and cultural beliefs and strives to incorporate this into her practice. In 2020, she completed the Registered Wonders and Worries Provider (RWWP) Training, a research-based curriculum for children and teens impacted by an adult’s illness. She is also a trained grief facilitator, Level 2 Reiki practitioner and, most recently, a children's mindfulness and yoga instructor. Lisa uses the skills she was taught to enhance those patients and families she sees in her practice. This initiative was a direct result of seeing a high level of anxiety of children and adolescents throughout the pandemic.
As a member of ACLP, Lisa has served as a past director and treasurer on the board of directors, in addition to serving on various ACLP committees. She is particularly proud of being an active member and former Chair of the community-based committee and having the opportunity to be part of the community-based think tank and ACLP strategic planning.
Lisa prides herself on being deeply committed to making sure that future child life professionals have the tools needed to continue evolving and practicing at the highest level. Her passion crosses over to her networking—not just with other child life specialists and leaders, but with students, interns, and those interested in the field of child life. She is just as driven and passionate about child life today as the day she started in the field.