Child life specialists are trained professionals who provide psychosocial support to children and families who are facing a stressful life event, particularly in the healthcare and hospital settings.
Child life specialists provide coping support to children and families through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They also promote optimal development and well being, in the context of hospitalization and illness, for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.
As an integral part of the healthcare team and in an effort to provide family centered care, child life specialists support parents, siblings and other family members – providing them with information, guidance and emotional support.
Child life specialists are dedicated to empowering families and providing them with coping tools and skills that they may use in any challenge they may face.
Child life specialists follow a code of ethics and professional standards of practice established by the Association for Child Life Professionals.
Child life specialists must earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in child life, child development, education, psychology or a related field. Through this education, child life specialists gain a strong foundation of human growth and development and family systems.
Many child life specialists have obtained the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential through the Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP). The process involves a:
- Minimum of a 480-hour clinical internship supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist
- Passing a national examination administered by the ACLP
- Adhere to professional development standards to maintain certification