The Role of Child Life Specialists in Community Settings

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While the genesis of the Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) is in the healthcare setting, the theory and practice of child life have been successfully applied to environments outside of the healthcare field. The interest and pursuit of child life roles in non-healthcare settings have increasingly become of interest to students and professionals; however, further study is required to understand the various challenges and opportunities.

The Role of Child Life Specialists in Community Settings serves as an innovative guide for those interested in pursuing child life in diverse settings with the education and credentials received through their child life certification and addresses issues the field currently faces related to saturation of the field, burn out, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The book also serves as a catalyst to push the profession as a whole beyond its current healthcare boundaries. Covering topics such as grief, addiction, disaster relief, and family well-being, this major reference work is ideal for psychologists, medical professionals, nurses, policymakers, government officials, researchers, scholars, academicians, practitioners, instructors, and students.

I’m honored to have contributed to Chapter 16 of this book, which covers private practice. My co-author, Dr. Korie Leigh, and I put our heart and soul into this.

Many seasoned child life specialists begin to think about expanding their role to serve different pediatric populations and/or settings. This chapter will focus on child life specialists building and sustaining a private practice within the community. Topics will include the need for service, executing a business plan, building community partnerships, and staying within the ethical and professional boundaries of a Certified Child Life Specialist. Additionally, case studies that describe assessments, preparation, developmental explanations, interventions, expressive arts, and play are included. Examples of business documents to help guide child life specialists interested in starting a private practice within their community are also included.

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