The Child Life Program

Letting Kids Be Kids


What is Child Life?

A hospital stay is an intimidating experience, especially for children and their families. Child Life Services is comprised of a team of trained pediatric professionals that serve as advocates for children and their families. Our program aims to create a positive experience through proven strategies helping to alleviate the stress with illness, and ultimately allows kids to be kids.

Our program has a family-centered model of care that focuses on:

•  Creating an emotionally uplifting environment
•  Teaching various coping strategies to ease anxiety
•  Assessing a child’s developmental needs during their stay
•  Educating children and families to enhance their hospital experience

Medical Procedure Education and Support

The importance of children having a full understanding of procedures and the overall hospital experience is second to none, as it significantly reduces any anxiety or discomfort they may be feeling. Child Life Specialists collaborate with doctors and clinicians to ensure that children and families have the most comfortable experience through services and tactics that include:

•  Conducting pre-admission and pre-operation tours to answer any questions children and families may have
•  Translating detailed medical information and terminology to children in an age appropriate manner
•  Educating children about upcoming procedures through therapeutic medical play using special tools, stuffed animals, and medical equipment
•  Providing developmentally appropriate distraction during certain procedures

Child Life assists with non-medical needs and provides psychosocial and emotional support to help families faced with traumatic experiences. From coordinating recreational activities including toys, games, music and other forms of entertainment to providing grief and bereavement support for children, siblings, parents and six flags 20other family members.

Sara Auerbach, BA, CCLS, CPMT
Certified Child Life Specialist
Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist

April Slowenski, B.S., M.Ed., CCLS, CPMT
Certified Child Life Specialist

Samantha Nocito, BA, CCLS
Certified Child Life Specialist

We welcome volunteers to join our team! If you are interested, please contact Volunteer Services at 732-776-4177.

If you would like to support our program, please check out our wish list.

Child Life Internships

  • Child Life Internships are offered in the Fall and Spring.
  • Child life Practicums are offered in the Summer.
  • The common child life internship application is accepted.
  • Please follow the child life council application deadlines.

Please contact April Slowenski for more information about the Child Life Internship Program. Completed Internship and Practicum Applications can be mailed to:

Jersey Shore University Medical Center
Child Life Department
Attn: April Slowenski, CCLS
1945 Route 33
Neptune, NJ 07753

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Health Information