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The Child Life Program understands the importance of human growth and development, as well as the impact illness, injury, disability and hospitalization can have on the process. Child Life Programs strive to reduce the stress of hospitalization through promoting the normal social, emotional, and educational development needs of the hospitalized children.
Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events. Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.
The goals of the Child Life Program are:
- Providing developmentally appropriate play, creative arts opportunities that will encourage mastery, coping and the expression of feelings
- Increase familiarity within the hospital surroundings, preparing children, teens and families for the medical experience
- Develop supportive relationships with patients and family members
- Bridge the gap between home and hospital by providing familiar activities (play, school, holiday parties and birthday parties, etc.)
Top 10 Reasons to call a Child Life Specialist
What is a Child Life Specialist?
Child Life Specialists have earned their bachelors or master’s degrees in Child Life, Child Development or a related field and are professionally certified by the Child Life Council. Through education and play, a child life specialist can help your child understand and cope with his/her hospitalization.
- Promote patient and family centered care
- Developmentally appropriate playroom and bedside activities
- Therapeutic play, including medical play
- Preparation for procedures, surgeries and tests
- Sibling support and education
- Oncology support groups in conjunction with Gilda’s Club South Florida
- Bereavement support
- Special events, birthday and holiday celebrations are scheduled throughout the year.
- Preoperative tour (click to download flyer with more information)
- Pet-assisted therapy
- Hospital tours for class visitations can be arranged by request
- Parties & activities sponsored by community organizations
The Child Life Staff consists of a Child Life Coordinator, Certified Child Life Specialists and a Music Therapist. The Child Life staff has a vast knowledge and years of experience in childhood growth and development, and the effects of hospitalization and illness on children of all ages.
Donations and Support
Gifts of toys for playroom use, infant toys, craft supplies, books, DVD’s, video games, gift cards and the like are most welcome. Donations must be new and safe. If you are interested in reviewing our wish list, click here. If you are interested making a monetary donation or in supporting a specific program, call the Broward Health Foundation at 954-712-3980.
For more information about our Child Life Program please call our Child Life Coordinator at 954-355-4356.
The Child Life Student Programs
Volunteering is an opportunity to gain familiarization with the hospital environment. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jenny Mackie, Patient Experience Manager at 954-759-7400, or click here.
The internship is specifically designed to help students meet the eligibility requirements set by the Child Life Council for child life certification. The internship will consist of 580 hours over a term of 13-15 weeks. The interns will be directly supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist.
Candidates should be college seniors or graduate students with a background of child development or related fields.