Operational Lessons Learned Navigating Child Life Careers

This pop-up webinar is free for members and will explore child life funding sources, program development, interdisciplinary education, and more. Child life programs share core values for professional practice while operating uniquely. Through literature reviews and a combined three decades of clinical experiences across ten institutions, insights have been gained into operational systems. Hospital funding, program size, coverage plans, opportunities for professional growth, management styles, and self-care will be addressed.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to identify different funding sources (i.e. for-profit, non-profit, government-funded), types of employment (hourly, salaried, part-time, full-time, per diem, contracted, grant-funded), and ways this impacts child life’s role.

Participants will be able to analyze components of program development such as the number of specialists, play-based or education-focused, administrative duties and new program development, and relate how these components impact the day-to-day work of a child life specialist.

Participants will be able to describe orientation processes and education provided to interdisciplinary, as well as educational materials for patients and families, and extrapolate ways this education aids child life in meeting daily unit needs.

Participants will be able to examine professional development and self-care opportunities in different environments and how that impacts self-growth and reduces burnout and stress especially during times of limited staff, such as during a pandemic.

Suggested Domain: Professional Development

Laura Gould

Laura Gould’s child life career has been guided by professional growth opportunities and personal life changes. Currently Laura works as a certified child life specialist in radiology/sedation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she has been for four years. Previously Laura worked in Las Vegas on the inpatient units at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, per diem at Summerlin Hospital, and on a contracted, grant basis at a title I elementary school providing psychoeducational support to students impacted by trauma. Prior to that she started out her career in radiology and perioperative care at Vermont Children’s Hospital. She has worked in programs ranging from being the sole child life specialist to a 60-person department. She has worked under various management styles in a government funded program, for profit hospitals, and non-profits. Laura has found the constant in every position is the incredible children and families and the privilege of being let into their lives during difficult times. Laura is actively pursuing her M.S. in Organizational Development and Leadership at Saint Joseph’s University. She earned a masters certificate in infant-toddler mental health from Arcadia University in 2013 and a B.S. in Psychology-Child Life from Utica College in 2009. Laura is a member of the ACLP where she is currently a member of the Professional Resource Committee. She is also a member of the Society of Pediatric Sedation. In Laura’s personal life, she has experienced the caregiver side of having children in the hospital and the advocacy involved as a former foster parent to three amazing children. In her free time, Laura enjoys swimming with her 6-year-old son. 

Emily Capron

Emily Capron graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology Child Life from Utica College of Syracuse University in 2009. Emily has been a Certified Child Life Specialist for over 10 years across multiple cities. Emily has worked at several institutions including Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Albany Medical Center and currently at Roswell Comprehensive Cancer Center. Emily has provided support to many different patient populations and units of the hospital including medical surgical units, pediatric intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, palliative care, children of adult patients, and Oncology/Hematology outpatient clinic. Emily has been able to gain both clinical and administration skills working in various program sizes from one person to 7 person child life programs. Emily has created sibling support programs, donation and special event policies, reshaped practicum and volunteer programs, created new processes for onboarding new staff and written several grants. Emily is a member of the ACLP. Emily enjoys spending time with her husband and dog Maddie in nature in her free time.

Millicent Ongaco

Millicent Ongaco has served as a certified child life specialist for over 12 years across the country. She has worked in various programs such as Kennedy Krieger Institute, a Pediatric Rehab Hospital in Baltimore, Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas and currently at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Infusion Center and Pediatric outpatient areas. These experiences in different clinical settings and areas of the country have helped her be able to adapt and grow as a child life professional. Millicent has also explored ways to become more involved within the child life field by volunteering in ACLP committees. She has served as a member of the Web and Online Networking Committee (WONC) and later serving as Co-chair and Chair. She is currently serving on the Child Life Certifying Committee (CLCC) as an Item Writer. Millicent has also coauthored an article for the ACLP Bulletin out later in the year and is looking forward to other ways to contribute to ACLP.


Operational Lessons Learned Navigating Child Life Careers
08/12/2021 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
08/12/2021 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
7 Questions
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
1.50 PDUs credits  |  Certificate available
1.50 PDUs credits  |  Certificate available