Certified Child Life Specialists: The Unsung Hospital Heroes

Certified Child Life Specialists' work with hospitalized children and their families is extremely important to Starlight Children's Foundation. But who are Child Life Specialists and what do they do?  

Viktoria de Jong, Starlight’s Mission Delivery Coordinator and Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) herself, is here to explain! 

A Child Life Specialist is a child development expert that typically works in a healthcare setting, to support kids and families as they deal with the anxiety and stress that comes with hospitalization. Child Life Specialists, who have a strong background in child development, collaborate with other members of the multidisciplinary team to help children not only feel less fear, anxiety, and pain but also to participate in medical play, learn about diagnoses, get ready for procedures, and just be kids.

Here is where Child Life Specialists and Starlight come together.  

Programs offered by Starlight, including Starlight Gaming, Starlight Hospital Wear, and Starlight Deliveries all help Child Life Specialists fulfill their role to their fullest potential. Child Life Specialists are specially trained to distract and comfort patients during painful procedures. Child Life Specialists use the materials and programs that Starlight provides to distract a patient from a painful experience. This is important because distraction can reduce procedure times and the number of staff required, especially in children! 

The importance of Starlight programs is seen across our hospital partners and hundreds of Child Life Specialists that we work with every day.

Starlight provides a sense of normalcy for [pediatric] patients. Getting into something more comfortable and having a game to play while waiting helps sick kids to feel like regular kids. Starlight programs also provide a whole new level of care, support, and passion for these patients.

- Lexi Little, CCLS at CHRISTUS Shreveport Bossier Health System

Help us provide Starlight programs free of charge to Child Life Specialists, so they can focus on delivering happiness to seriously ill kids. 

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