Child Life Specialist

The Child Life Specialist will work collaboratively with the Inter-Disciplinary Team (IDT) to provide quality palliative care to patients and families through assessment, therapeutic interventions, developmentally appropriate activities, and educational plans. The goal of this process is to meet the emotional, social, and developmental needs of pediatric patients and their families within the framework of the GMCH Mission and the philosophy of pediatric palliative care.


Essential Functions: Clinical

  • In conjunction with the IDT, assess all patients/families to develop, implement, evaluate and update plan of care for each patient/family.
  • Develop a plan for each patient that allows for self-expression and normalization, including, but not limited to: a) therapeutic interventions, b) indoor and outdoor recreational activities, c) peer interactions, d) activities away from the facility, e) opportunity for patient involvement for planning and implementation of the activity program, f) creative activities, such as art and music, g) educational activities, h) exercise activities. These activities shall take place on a daily basis when children are physically able to participate.
  • Develop and implement programming for patients unable to leave their rooms. Provided activities shall be designed to make life more meaningful, to stimulate and support physical and mental capabilities to the fullest extent, and to enable the patient to maintain the highest attainable social, physical, and emotional functioning.
  • Consult with other Child Life Specialists (at patient’s previous institution/hospital), school teachers, school principals, and other healthcare providers in order to coordinate care across the continuum for patient and family members.
  • In conjunction with the individual child/young adult’s school, develop and administer appropriate curriculum, tutorial programs, lesson plans and homework assignments as approved and needed.
  • For long-term or repeat admission patients, obtain annual Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs) from schools to review, develop plans of care, and keep on file at GMCH, reviewing periodically to keep these documents up to date.

Essential Functions: Patient/Family Interaction

  • Participate in family meetings.
  • Provide therapeutic opportunities for legacy building with patient and family members.
  • Assess siblings’ needs as appropriate: understanding of situation, coping skills, and available support systems.
  • Consult with siblings’ schools as needed for academic work, school counseling services, and bereavement support.
  • Provide follow-up grief support to siblings as needed.
  • Co-facilitate Parent Resource Group meetings with the GMCH Social Worker.

Essential Functions: Team Communication

  • Complete and maintain timely documentation of assessments, plan of care, and clinical notes in the electronic medical record (Netsmart).
  • Assess and document patient/sibling(s) developmental levels within 72 hours of admission using Kardex.
  • Develop patient profile and enter in the Volunteer Binder by admit date and update binder as needed.
  • Routinely participate in IDT meetings to discuss clinical goals and progress.
  • Meet weekly with psychosocial team to collaborate on patient and family needs and review plans of care.
  • Provide in-service training and continuing education to GMCH staff, volunteers and students on pediatric growth and development and other topics at least annually and as needed.
  • Manage and direct the work of GMCH volunteers as needed, to support the Child Life Program,and ensure optimal and effective communication of patient and family needs among GMCH staff and volunteers.

Essential Functions: General Administration

  • Develop and maintain contacts with community agencies and organizations as needed to meet therapeutic, recreational, and educational needs for children and their siblings.
  • Plan, coordinate, and supervise associate programs such as Music Therapy, Pet Therapy, Dancin Power, Pickleberry Pie, Oakland Zoo, and SonRise Equestrian.
  • Develop and coordinate the GMCH Activity Schedule with other patient services.
  • Along with other psychosocial staff and Volunteer Coordinator, arrange special celebrations, holiday events, sibling events, bereavement events, final wish activities, and memory building for children/young adult, families, and staff.
  • Organize and maintain GMCH sensory and activity rooms.
  • In conjunction with the Volunteer Services Coordinator create volunteer schedules and assignments for various activities within sensory and activity rooms and the house at large.
  • Collaborate with Volunteer Coordinator regarding initial volunteer mentoring and ongoing supervision of integrative therapies (music, dance, etc).
    Purchase, inventory and maintain toys, art supplies, games, books, music, etc. for the Child Life Program.
  • Assist with outreach for patients, families and health care professionals as needed.
  • Attend other clinical or administrative meetings as needed.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Director of Nursing or CEO.
  • M.A. or equivalent preferred in areas such as child life, education, counseling, or public health.
  • Child Life Specialist certification (CCLS) required.
  • Minimum of two years of child life experience in a health care setting.
  • One year of direct experience in pediatric palliative care in hospital or community setting.
  • Significant employment history working with multi-cultural children, families and diverse social situations.
  • Familiarity with medical diagnoses, terminology, and procedures.
  • Experience with community outreach, program development, and program management.

Employees regularly working a minimum of 24 hours per week are eligible to participate in the benefits program on the first day of the month following 60 days of hire. The cost for employees’ health, dental and vision are paid in full by GMCH. Employees are responsible for the cost of enrolling their dependents and eligible family members.

Apply now

Position: Child Life Specialist

Thank you for your interest in the George Mark Children’s House (GMCH) and for submitting your resume. If we wish to arrange for a personal interview, we will contact you by email or telephone.

Again, thank you for your interest in employment at GMCH.

Human Resources Department

Employment Type
Full-Time (32 hrs/wk); may include some daytime, weekend and evening hours.
Beginning of employment
June 2018
Date posted
June 8, 2018
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