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Child Life Specialists

Our focus is on the well-being of the whole child. We know that illness and hospitalization can lead to stress and uncertainty. We also understand that being away from home and family can cause fear and confusion. This can interfere with the child’s physical and emotional recovery.

Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside is known for providing excellent pediatric health care, meeting more than just the child’s physical needs, focusing on the emotional, educational and developmental needs of each patient and family, and supporting family-centered care.

What do Child Life Specialists do?

Child Life Specialists work to make sure that life remains as normal as possible for children in health care settings. They help children cope with their illness or injury by providing support, distraction therapy, age appropriate medical education and preparation, and opportunities for play and creative expression.

What services to they provide?

Services provided by Child Life Specialists focus on meeting the needs of each child. Child life staff members:

  • Prepare children for surgery and medical procedures using resources and language that children can understand
  • Help reduce children’s anxiety and improve cooperation with the health care team
  • Provide support and encouragement during medical procedures to help children cope
  • Offer children times for play and self-expression, both in the playroom and at the child’s bedside
  • Provide support and information to parents and other family members as they help their child adjust to hospitalization
  • Offer special programs and activities for patients throughout the year, including pet therapy, holiday celebrations, special visitors and entertainment.

Child Life Staff, Interns and Volunteers

Child Life Specialists have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in child development or a related area of study. Child life staff members complete a demanding educational, internship, and exam process to earn the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential.

The child life department also offers supervised 16-week child life internships. Interns are college seniors or graduate students. They work alongside our child life staff to learn more about how to meet the special needs of hospitalized children.

Child life volunteers also help with playroom activities and spend time with children at their bedsides.

For more information about the Child Life Services department at Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside, please call (815) 971-5309 or (815) 971-6217.

Learn More

Child Life Specialist Internship

Real-life experience for child-related field of study

learn more


Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside

8201 E. Riverside Blvd.
Rockford, IL 61114

Phone: (815) 971-7000
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