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Child Life Services

When a child stays in the hospital for any length of time, it’s easy for his or her whole world to be consumed by all things medical. At UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, we make it our priority to ensure this never happens. Here a child’s life continues even when health problems get in the way. Child Life Services bridges the gaps between home, hospital, and school with age-appropriate activities designed to help young patients understand and adapt to the hospital experience—and to keep them loving life every step of the way.

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Why Families Choose Us

Care and Support for All Your Child’s Life Experiences

  • The Child Life Services program at Children’s Hospital Oakland features highly-trained and -certified Child Life specialists who promote growth through therapeutic play, education, and self-expression.
  • Primary goals of the program include minimizing stress and anxiety, preparing children for upcoming healthcare procedures, providing positive life experiences, promoting self-esteem and independence, and streamlining the education process.

Support and Healing for the Whole Family

  • Studies show that play, when used as a healing tool, can enhance the normal growth and development of infants, children, and youth.
  • At UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, we include siblings and families in this "process of play." We offer sibling involvement and education, a NICU sibling support group, the incorporation of family culture into therapeutic activities, and other services that ensure that every member of the family benefits from the hospital experience.

Pediatric Hospital School Program

  • At Children's Hospital Oakland, we recognize that success in school is essential to every child's self-esteem and well-being, so we make educational continuity part of the recovery plan for every school-aged child.
  • The hospital school is fully accredited by the Oakland Unified School District. All of our teachers have graduate degrees and teaching credentials, and each one is an active member of the healthcare team and consults with other medical caregivers to provide patients with the best in streamlined and comprehensive care.

Positive Play for All Ages

  • Two playrooms stocked with toys, games, and art projects offer fun activities to help kids cope with the stress of being in the hospital. The playrooms are "no-procedure zones" where kids can get away from all the shots and probes required by their medical care.
  • Additional Child Life Services include a teen lounge, art and music programs, and community outreach and education.

Child Life Department Internship

The Child Life Department at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland offers full-time internships in Winter/Spring, and Summer to qualified students enrolled in a Graduate Child Life Program.

More information on how to become a Child Life intern: Child Life Department Internship

Child Life Department Internship and Practicum Program

The Child Life Department at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland offers:

  • Full-time internships to qualified students enrolled in a Graduate Child Life Program.
    More information on how to become a Child Life Intern
  • A 100-hour practicum program for undergraduate and graduate students who have not yet completed an internship program. More information on how to become a Child Life Practicum Student