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What are Child Life Specialists

Child Life Specialists at Valley Presbyterian Hospital strive to reduce the stress and anxiety that children encounter when they come to the hospital by normalizing their experience.

Normalization happens by taking unfamiliar experiences and making them less strange and scary. This is accomplished through play, education, support and empowerment.

It is the philosophy of child life that play is a child's way of understanding and processing the world around them. Bringing play into stressful and unfamiliar situations allows a child to gain mastery and confidence in an otherwise potentially overwhelming environment.

Child life specialists are certified professionals educated in child development, and trained in the best ways to help children cope in the hospital environment. They have attained either a bachelor's or master's degree and are certified by the Association of Child Life Professionals, which is the national governing body of the child life profession.

The child life specialists at VPH work on the pediatric unit, pediatric intensive care unit, NICU, and receive consults from same day surgery, emergency department, radiology and other areas that children can be found in the hospital. The child life specialists can also provide school re-entry visits to assist children in returning to the classroom after a new diagnosis or physically-altering injury.

Child Life Services

  • Procedural education/ Procedure support/ Accompaniment for procedures
  • Diversional activities/therapeutic coping techniques
  • New diagnosis education
  • Therapeutic play
  • Bedside interventions
  • Family support
  • School reintegration
  • Activity room
  • Bereavement/ End of life support
  • Sibling visitation/ Sibling support
  • Behavior management
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Volunteer opportunities

Contact Information:

Harmony Jackson, MS, CCLS
Lead Certified Child Life Specialist
Office: 818.902.7923

Rachel Hanners
Certified Child Life Specialist

Donate Toys

You can help the children at VPH by donating new toys, games and other supplies. Due to infection control guidelines and for the well-being of our patients, all donations must be newly purchased items.

The child life staff has provided a donation wish list for you to choose that will best serve our patients. Thank you for your generous support!