Child Life in Action

Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLSs) provide evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education that support and reduce fear, anxiety and pain for children, adolescents and families. They work in partnership with families, interdisciplinary healthcare teams and community professionals within the evolving healthcare system to meet the psychosocial, emotional and development needs of children and adolescents.

Child Life Responds to COVID-19

Conversations with child life professionals. Hear how child life professionals have experienced COVID-19 both professionally and personally. They share their personal stories and they talk about how they have adjusted and applied their unique skill set in innovative ways, in various work settings, during the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID video - Megan, Rechelle, Divna
Meagan Roloff, MA, CCLS, Director Member Engagement, ACLP, talks with Rechelle Porter, CCLS, and Divna Wheelwright, MA, CCLS, Co-Chairs of the ACLP Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.  They discuss their team's work in the creation of a DEI position statement for ACLP, the future state we aspire to create in the child life community through the language we use and the pathways to entry we create that will ensure the profession becomes more diverse and inclusive. Rechelle: "In the United States there are a lot of healthcare disparities...COVID-19 brought that to light even more, but it's always been part of our country's history." Divna: "To put it really bluntly, what we're seeing is essentially structural problems within the American system that are resulting in people of color being killed...What you're really seeing is racism in action."

Jen Lipsey with Meghan Kelly (2)
Part 1: Jen Lipsey, CEO, ACLP, talks with Meghan Kelly, CCLS, about her personal journey of being ill with COVID-19, in quarantine at home for 4 weeks, and surviving the illness. Meghan also talks about the impact the pandemic has had on her team and other colleagues at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, NY - an area hard-hit with the coronavirus. "There was the guilt of staying home and missing being here (at work) as a leader when my team needed me...there's also the survivor guilt because colleagues of mine died."
Jen Lipsey with Meghan Kelly (2)
Part 2: Jen Lipsey, CEO, ACLP, and Meghan Kelly, CCLS, continue to chat about the very personal perspective Meghan shares about her recovery from COVID-19. When family and friends were angry that she was going to go back to work after being so ill, her response was: "I'm a healthcare professional. This is what I do." Meghan also talks about how her team developed a flexible self-care plan to support themselves and each other while providing patient care during the height of the pandemic in New York.  

Meagan, Kristy Berksza, Teresa Schoell
Meagan Roloff, MA, CCLS, Director Member Engagement, ACLP, talks with Kristy Berksza, CCLS, and Teresa Schoell, CCLS, about the importance of self-care. If you are feeling self-doubt, exhausted, and off-balance - you are not alone. Kristy and Teresa candidly share how they are feeling and coping while continuing to provide child life services during the COVID-19 pandemic. They felt vulnerable posting their feelings on the forum, but by doing so feel it opened up a space to receive support from other child life specialists. Teresa: "For me, reaching out to the forum is always a great place for information, for benchmarking, for ideas and inspiration, for support. That's always there and I love it!" Kristy: "You're not going to be able to help others unless you're present and nourished yourself."
Meagan, Cinda McDonald
Meagan Roloff, MA, CCLS, Director Member Engagement, ACLP, talks with Cinda McDonald, CCLS, about working with children of seriously or terminally ill or injured adult patients - many with coronavirus. She and her team are providing support remotely while working from home, interacting with adults by phone and doing interventions with children by teleconference. They have been able to successfully advocate for children from 3 different families to have the opportunity to come to the hospital, see and say good-bye to their person just before they died. "Our team is really living with the mantra that we're all in this together. And, we're truly interested in doing what we can to support fellow child life specialists that might be seeking some guidance." ACLP members may contact Cinda through her Community profile:
Jen and Genevieve Lowry
Part 1: Jen Lipsey, CEO, ACLP, talks with Genevieve Lowry, CCLS, about her long and multi-faceted career in child life. Genevieve has done it all. She has worked in clinical settings in NYC, in community settings, and now she is a force for change in academia. Hear how Genevieve became full-time faculty in the child life program at Bank Street College and adapted her teaching to a fully online format. "I think my online classes are much better." She also addresses the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on students and internships. "Many students are unable to complete their internships and as a result of that, lives have been put on hold." "How do we carry forth the next generation of child life professionals?"
Jen and Genevieve Lowry
Part 2: Jen Lipsey, CEO, ACLP, and Genevieve Lowry, CCLS, continue their conversation about the effects the coronavirus is having on child life. Jen Lipsey discusses how the pandemic is adding additional complexity to efforts of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to the child life profession. And, Genevieve discusses many ways to contribute support during this challenging time. "So much of what we do is to recognize when you're the front-line person and when you're the person that's holding up the front line."

Meagan Roloff, MA, CCLS, Director Member Engagement, ACLP, talks with Caitlin Leary, CCLS, about her experiences in the Pediatric Primary Care Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and the success of her COVID-19 Facebook group. 

Meagan Roloff, MA, CCLS, Director Member Engagement, ACLP, talks with Hilary Woodward, CCLS, about her multiple child life positions. Hilary works in the Pediatric Emergency Department at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. She is an adjunct faculty member at Bank Street College. And, she is the Director of Child Life at Base Camp - a simulation-based interprofessional pediatric emergency medicine training program.

COVID Video - Debbie Spencer, Meagan

Meagan Roloff, MA, CCLS, Director Member Engagement, ACLP, talks with Debbie Spencer, CCLS, about her role as Internship Coordinator at AdventHealth for Children and adapting training during the coronavirus pandemic using a variety of tactics including online meetings, article reviews, education sessions, and role-playing.


Jennifer Lipsey, CEO, ACLP, talks with Kia Ferrer, MS, CCLS, GC-C, about community-based child life and Tele-ChildLife - a professional learning module she developed for Certified Child Life Specialists utilizing online delivery of therapeutic interventions via video conferencing.

Read Stories of Child Life in Action in Various Work Settings