The Division of Child Life, Education, and Arts at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is proud of our Child Life Program, which provides therapeutic play and recreational activities to support children and families as they cope with illness, hospitalization, and treatment. We are dedicated to helping every child who walks through our doors understand why they are in the hospital, and we hope they walk away a little less scared
The following statements are provided by the Child Life Council.
We, as child life professionals, strive to reduce the negative impact of stressful or traumatic life events and situations that affect the development, health and well-being of infants, children, youth and families. We embrace the value of play as a healing modality as we work to enhance the optimal growth and development of infants, children and youth through assessment, intervention, prevention, advocacy and education.
We, as child life professionals, value:
- Infants, Children, Youth and Families - We recognize the diversity of individual and family strengths and needs, acknowledging their support systems and community links. We promote individual and family integrity, development, and well being by embracing the concepts of family-centered care.
- Play - Play is an essential, natural part of childhood, important in its own right. Play facilitates healing, coping, mastery, self-expression, creativity, achievement and learning, and is vital to a child's optimal growth and development. Play is an integral aspect of child life practice with infants, children and youth of all ages.
- Therapeutic Relationships - We are committed to relationships built on trust, respect and professional competence which contribute to the development of confidence, resilience, and problem-solving skills that enable individuals and families to deal effectively with challenges to development, health and well-being.
- Communication - Infants, children and youth communicate their needs through words, play and behavior. We are committed to enabling all forms of communication. We accomplish this by observing, listening and facilitating communication with those who may be misunderstood or needing support in order to be heard. Written documentation of child life assessments, interventions and evaluation of outcomes is an essential aspect of our practice.
- Theoretical Foundations of Practice - Knowledge and application of our foundations in theories of child development, play, stress and coping, and family systems are the basis for our professional practices.
- Professional Collaboration - The shared and reciprocal efforts of individuals, disciplines, organizations and communities are an effective means of meeting the diverse needs of infants, children, youth and families. Child life practice includes professional collaboration, as well as commitment to the education, supervision and mentoring of novice child life professionals.
- Professional Standards of Practice - The commitment to excellence and integrity in our professional practices involves lifelong learning, adherence to our code of ethics, and the development and support of educational and training programs based upon defined clinical competencies.
- Research - Research is a fundamental tool of inquiry to guide our practices and interventions, and strengthen and promote our profession. Child life professionals have a responsibility to maintain a current understanding of research findings and participate in research that examines our practices.
The profession of child life will continue to meet the needs of infants, children, youth and families in times of stressful or traumatic life events and situations. The philosophy and practice of child life will be applicable to any health care setting and transferable to other environments or situations in which the potential for infants, children and youth to cope, learn and master is placed at risk. The services provided by the child life profession will be holistic and will utilize applied child development and family systems theory. The objectives of such services will be to minimize the negative impact of situational disruptions while maintaining individual growth and development and family relationships.