Child Life

Your child’s best friend and biggest cheerleader when they visit our children's hospital

young black father holding giggling young child upside down and in the air

Compassionate. Energetic. There when you need them. These words describe the amazing people who are the HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Child Life Specialists. When your child visits – for a short appointment, extended hospital stay or regular treatment - our Child Life team makes them feel like a kid, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

Utilizing age-appropriate techniques, our Child Life Specialists focus on making sure your child feels safe and loved. Whether it’s a fun, bed-side activity or a game to distract them from a specific procedure, our child life team makes sure your child leaves with hugs and smiles, and a positive experience at the hospital.

Child Life is a free service available to all children, teens, young adults and families at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital. On our campus, the certified Child Life Specialists are trained to help children and families cope with health care experiences. They’re a special group of staff, dedicated to listening and getting to know your child and their unique needs.

They become your child’s best friend and biggest cheerleader while your child visits our hospital.

Contact Us

If you have questions or you're interested in speaking or meeting with a Child Life Specialist, call us at 920-433-8641

If you are interested in making a donation, consider looking at our wish list for priority items and donation guidelines. 

Internships, Practicum and Volunteer opportunities

For students, an invaluable experience to prepare for life after college. Child Life offers an unpaid, 16-week internship during summer, fall and spring. We take between two and four interns per semester. 

At this time, we are only accepting school-affiliated students. Qualified students will have:
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Current CPR certification (by the start of the internship)
  • A minimum of 150 hours of volunteer work with sick or at-risk kids
  • A practicum is highly recommended

To apply, submit a completed application to:

Please include the following in your application packet:

  • A completed Association of Child Life Professionals standard application form

  • A completed, 500-word typed essay on why you want to go into the child life field

  • Resume

  • Cover letter

Internship acceptance is contingent upon sending a completed eligibility assessment (if not already submitted in application) prior to internship start date showing that the student has completed all courses required by the Association of Child Life Professionals.

We follow the Association of Child Life Professionals application deadlines and offer dates. Please call 920-433-8641 or email if you have any questions. 

There may be an opportunity for you to complete a practicum during winter break. This includes a minimum of 100 hours.  Winter practicum consists of 3 weeks during winter break (December-January) with approximately 40 hours per week with a total of about 100 hours. The practicum experience follows the standards recommended by the ACLP and is designated for students pursuing a career as a child life specialist.
  • At this time, we are only accepting school-affiliated students. Qualified students will have:
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for undergraduate and graduate schools
  • Be enrolled in a child life program or have taken a minimum of 5 college level courses related to child life/child development upon start of practicum
To apply, you must submit the following by May 1:
  • Completed practicum application
  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • All unofficial university transcripts- please highlight your college-level courses that relate to child life/child development

Submissions can be sent to

If chosen, we will be in contact to schedule an interview. Interview candidates will be selected by the end of the second week of May. If you have questions, please contact Child Life at 920-433-8641.

Child Life volunteers at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Child Life Department are utilized in number of important ways such as providing play for patients, breaks for parents, restocking items, organizing and sanitizing toys and additional programming support. 

Volunteer Requirements

  • Volunteers must be in the process of pursuing the field of child life. 
  • Volunteer candidates must be able to provide a 50-hour commitment. 
  • Volunteer candidates are required to commit to a 2-4 hour volunteer shift once per week (this can vary)

Volunteer Onboarding Schedule

Child Life volunteer candidates are selected on a seasonal basis.  

Our volunteer onboarding schedule:  
Fall Volunteer (September – December):

Email your interest to by July 15th.  Selection will be made by August 1st.  

No Summer Volunteer spots available 

Spring Volunteer (January – May):

Email your interest to by November 15. Selection will be made by December 1st.   

Once you have emailed your interest, our volunteer coordinator will contact you for a virtual interview. 

If selected as a volunteer, please visit “Application Process” at

Please contact  for any questions.

More information about Child Life services

When your child visits HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, there are usually a lot of questions, especially from your child. Our Child Life Specialists ensure that your child feels safe, comfortable and listened-to while they visit. Here’s how we help.
  • Prepare children for medical treatments, tests and procedures
  • Provide distraction, play and support during tests and procedures
  • Provide relaxation techniques to deal with stress
  • Offer developmentally and age-appropriate activities, such as bingo, coloring contests, daily bedside activities
  • Answer questions with age-appropriate answers about treatment and procedures
  • Prepare patients and siblings for what to expect while at the hospital
  • Offer patients and siblings emotional support throughout the journey
When your child leaves HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, we want them to leave with new friends and positive memories of their visit.
As a parent, there’s a lot to manage when your child has to visit the hospital. Life doesn’t simply stop when your child is here. Our Child Life Specialists understand that parents need help – answering questions, managing siblings, scheduling appointments or other challenges that come up. We are dedicated to providing you the resources you need to help. Here’s what we can do.
  • Provide emotional support throughout the journey
  • Offer tips and ideas for supporting children, patient and siblings, such as behavior modification tools, developmental information, and other support as necessary
  • Provide parent breaks
  • Give concrete answers on what to expect during an extended hospital visit, including visitor procedures, where to stay and other information
  • Offer support for families during grief situations
Your child’s care is our life’s work. Ensuring that you and your family are supported is central to the work we do in our community!

Using play, education and self-expression, Child Life Specialists make your child feel comfortable while promoting optimum development.
  • For pediatric patients - focused one-on-one support for our most important visitors.
  • For siblings of patients in the hospital – we listen and provide answers to tough questions.
  • For kids, their family members and other loved ones in the hospital – age appropriate play and activities are provided.
  • For kids with friends in the hospital – we can share and answer questions about what to expect while visiting their friend.
  • For parents with kids in the hospital – we listen and provide appropriate and necessary resources.
  • Grief support for parents, siblings and kids – no matter the circumstances, we ensure you and your family is completely supported during heartbreaking times.
The Child Life Specialists serve as your families’ connection to knowledge and resources, both within the HSHS family of care and the community. Your child is the reason we exist, and we love them like our own!

A Day in the Life of a Child Life Specialist

Ensuring that your child has the most positive experience while visiting, our Child Life Specialists have “the best job” at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital. Learn first-hand how this special group of caring and compassionate individuals show love for our most precious kids.