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Child Life Specialist Internship

The Child Life Specialist Internship will not be offered during the Summer Session of 2020. Normal scheduling will resume in the Fall of 2020.

Child Life Specialist Internships at Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital-Riverside are offered three times a year, beginning in January, May, and August/September. Internships are 16 weeks long, 39 ½ hours a week.

Interns work directly with our staff of five certified Child Life Specialists. One Child Life Specialist acts as the student’s primary supervisor during their internship. Students work primarily in the pediatric and pediatric intensive care units throughout their internship. Although there aren’t formal rotations, students will have an opportunity to spend time with the Child Life Specialist providing services in outpatient surgery, pediatric infusion and radiology.

Students who are interested in applying to the Child Life Internship Program must complete the following steps:

Education and skill requirements
To be considered for an internship, bachelor degree students must have senior status at the time of the internship. Graduate (master level) and independent internships (for students who have already completed their bachelor degree) are also offered. Independent and school affiliated internship candidates with majors in a child-related field such as child life, child development, early childhood education, family and human development, special education, etc. will be considered. While not required, students who have successfully completed a child life practicum will be considered before those with less experience.

Interns are expected to have and to further develop the following clinical skills:

  • Strong knowledge of child development and behavior (birth through age 18)
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written
  • Knowledge and understanding of group dynamics
  • Ability to organize, follow through, complete tasks and assignments, and work independently
  • Ability to provide developmentally appropriate and therapeutic play, education, and other child life interventions to children of every age

The Common Child Life Internship Application can be downloaded at Complete this application, print it, and mail it to us along with a copy of your resume, child life eligibility assessment (found on the child life website), hours verification form for any volunteer hours and/or child life practicum (obtain this from the facility where hours are completed), and all of your college/university transcript/s. Unofficial copies of your transcripts are acceptable to include with your initial application. Only students who are selected to interview for the internship position will be required to supply an official copy of their transcript/s at that time. Mail all of this information by the deadline established by the Association of Child Life Professionals to:

Child Life, Pediatrics 3 West
Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside
8201 E. Riverside Blvd., Rockford, IL 61114

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.


Applicants are required to supply at least two recommendation forms.  Recommendation forms are included in the common child life application.  Recommendations should come from individuals who have supervised and/or observed your work with children (paid, practicum or volunteer).  Additional academic references can also be included.   General reference letters can also be included with the recommendation form, if the person writing the recommendation would like to do so.

All recommendation forms & letters should be signed and sealed by the reference writer and mailed directly to:

Child Life, Pediatrics 3 West
Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside
8201 E. Riverside Blvd.
Rockford, Il 61114

If the recommendation form is sealed in a business envelope which bears the name of the business/institution/or the person writing the reference and their signature is written across the seal, the reference may be included with the application packet.

Unsigned references will not be considered. Let us know if you have any additional questions.

All properly completed applications will be thoroughly reviewed, and some students will be selected to interview with our Child Life Specialists for the internship position. In-person interviews are preferred, although Skype/FaceTime interviews can sometimes be arranged for long-distance students. During the interview you will have a chance to tell us about your experiences with children and families and to share your interest and knowledge about the field of child life. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions, learn more about the specifics of the internship, tour the pediatric and pediatric intensive care departments, and meet child life staff members/interns. Students not selected to interview will receive email notification confirming this.

Selection of child life interns is made on the basis of demonstrated academic performance, academic area of study, application information (including essays/short answers), the type/length of experience working directly with children (paid, volunteer, practicum, etc.), quality of references, personal qualities, and the interview.

Students who are offered internships will receive a phone call on the official offer date/s established by the child life council. Please note that sometimes this process can take several days, as students have 24 hours to decide whether or not to accept an internship. Once the student verbally agrees to accept the internship they will also be notified in writing of their acceptance into the internship program.

Accepted students will be sent a detailed handbook which provides specific information about internship guidelines, requirements, assignments, and readings. Students who have been interviewed, but who are not offered an internship, will receive email notification confirming this.

Housing near our Rockton Avenue Campus is available for a fee (currently $5/night) on a limited basis. The hospital also occasionally has furnished apartments available to rent (currently $375-$575/month). Our Child Life Specialists can help you make arrangements if you require housing

Health and safety information and screening

Students who are selected to participate in the internship program are required to provide written copies of the following information before the start of their internship:

  • Proof of vaccinations: Two measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Tdap or Dtap (within last 10 years), flu shot (if in season), one-step TB test (within the last year), two varicella vaccines or a titer or physician documented case of chicken pox.
  • Background check

Stipend and fees
Child life interns do not pay a fee to the hospital, nor do they receive a stipend. Independent interns are required to carry a private liability insurance policy. Child life staff can help find this.

Interns will work a flexible schedule of 39.5 hours per week, including some evening shifts. Your weekly schedule will be completed by your internship supervisor.

For more information, please call the child life office at (815) 971-5309 or email Marcia Stalter at

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