Children’s Health Child Life Program | Hackensack Meridian Health   

Child Life Program 

Unique care for children

Our child life team helps children and their families cope with a serious illness or a stay in the hospital. Specially trained professionals also support children who have a hospitalized family member. Child life specialists are experts in child development and psychology. We help a child feel safe and reduce stress while developing positive coping skills through play, psychological preparation, and self-expression. Creative art therapists and volunteers such as musicians, artists, animal-assisted therapists and photographers enhance a child’s hospital experience.

Child life program provides:

Safe, child-friendly playrooms for children and their families

Medical play to alleviate fears and clarify misconceptions

Explanation of a diagnosis, and preparation for tests and procedures in words children can understand

Creative arts to encourage communication, empowerment, and promote healing

Support for siblings

Events and special visits for enjoyable hospital experience

Palliative and bereavement support

Comprehensive evaluation of a child’s developmental needs, to ensure children continue to meet their milestones during their stay and throughout their recovery

Alternative focus and distraction to reduce pain and anxiety during painful or invasive procedures

Therapeutic support through play, psychological preparation and self-expression

Donations and special visitors

The child life program is grateful to the generous members of our community looking to bring a smile to our patients of all ages. If you are interested in donating or being a special visitor, please contact our department to learn more about our guidelines.


Internships and practicums

The child life internship offered at both Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital provides a well-rounded program to gain crucial skills to become a successful child life professional. The child life program fosters each intern’s unique strengths and abilities, while helping them develop their clinical skills. Rotations are offered in a variety of areas on both inpatient and outpatient units.

Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital follows the ACLP guidelines for child life internship application submissions and only accepts ACLP common application.  Creative art therapy practicums and internships are offered. Please contact Ellen Goldring for eligibility and individual requirements. Visit the Association of Child Life Services

For More Information

Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center
30 Prospect Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601

K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center
1944 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753

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