Child Life Internship Program

Thank you for your interest in the Child Life Internship Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. The internship is a sixteen week, forty hour a week program, for students pursuing a career as a Child Life Specialist. The internship is designed to teach students to recognize and respond to the emotional and psychosocial needs of hospitalized children and their families. The internship includes multiple rotations which may include:

  • Pediatric and Adolescent Units
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit and Outpatient Clinic
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Emergency Department
  • The Family Teaching Program/Same Day Services

The internship is available for credit at both the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as on a non-credit basis for recent graduates in the field. One student is accepted per semester. Students should apply using the Common Child Life Internship Application found on the ACLP website ( Other requirements include:

  • Completed ACLP Eligibility Assessment
  • Verification of 100 hours of volunteer work with well children
  • Verification of 100 hours of volunteer work with hospitalized children
  • Verification of 100 hour practicum experience
  • 3 reference letters

Completed applications must be submitted electronically to by the deadlines set forth by the ACLP. Incomplete or mailed applications will not be considered.

If you have any questions regarding the program do not hesitate to contact Melissa Leiby, our internship advisor, via email at

Very truly yours,
Barbara Romito Signature
Barbara Romito, MA, CCLS
Director, Child Life Program
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital


The Child Life Internship Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is designed to teach students to recognize and respond to the psychosocial needs of hospitalized children and their families. The internship offers exposure to all aspects of Child Life programming, including both hands on experience with patients and accompanying academic work. The internship is designed to follow the Child Life Clinical Internship Curriculum and ensures students are able to effectively tie theory into practice. Students work under the supervision of Child Life Specialists in units throughout The Children’s Hospital, and may include the Pediatric Unit, Adolescent Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Hematology/Oncology Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Department, and the Family Teaching Program/Same Day Surgery. The internship is a 16 week, 40 hour a week program, including some evenings and weekends.


  • Applicant must be an undergraduate student, graduate student, or recent graduate in Child Life, Child Development or a related concentration. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a solid academic background in normal growth and development.
  • Applicant must have a minimum of 100 volunteer hours in a Child Life Program and 100 hours of experience with healthy children.
  • Applicant must utilize the Common Child Life Application found at
  • Applicant must have completed the Child Life Council’s Eligibility assessment.
  • If relevant, applicant should complete the Confirmation of Child Life Course In-Progress Form and the Confirmation of Child Life Practicum In-Progress Form.
  • Following application review, students may be selected for an onsite interview. Onsite interviews are required as part of the selection process. Skype interviews are considered on a case-by-case basis.


Prior to beginning the internship program, students are required to read: The Handbook of Child Life (Thompson)

At the conclusion of the internship, the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss the philosophy of Child Life as well as the specific programming at The Bristol Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
  2. Discuss the scope of service and patient population for each unit.
  3. Describe the normal growth and developmental patterns for infants through adolescents.
  4. Interact with patients in group and individual settings.
  5. Describe the different psychosocial effects of acute/chronic conditions.
  6. Describe the different psychosocial effects of planned vs. unplanned hospitalizations.
  7. Provide age appropriate art and recreational activities for various populations within the hospital.
  8. Provide pre-operative teaching and medical play opportunities for patients and siblings.
  9. Discuss basic medical procedures/terminology.
  10. Identify how Child Life functions as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  11. Describe the administrative aspects of Child Life Programming.


**In addition to the overall program goals, each individual rotation begins with a special goal/objective list, as well as specific assignments per rotation.

  1. Work under the supervision of the assigned Child Life Specialist for eight hours per day, five days per weeks for a minimum of 16 weeks
  2. Understand all Child Life policies/procedures, as well as related ones from other departments.
  3. Maintain a daily written log on hospital experiences, to be reviewed daily by the supervising Child Life Specialist.
  4. Complete weekly assigned readings to be discussed with supervisor.
  5. Complete 2 case studies that follow a patient from admission to discharge.
  6. Complete a gap-in-service project.
  7. Complete one formal lesson plan for each unit/rotation, in addition to unit based projects.
  8. Plan and implement one full week of activities in the Pediatric Unit, including lesson plans and objectives.
  9. Attend appropriate psychosocial rounds.
  10. Participate in the supervision of Child Life volunteers.
  11. Meet weekly with internship advisor to discuss progress and review Child Life Council’s Internship Curriculum Modules.


Patients, families, medial staff, nursing and hospital personnel.


Frequent pushing, pulling, lifting, walking and standing and reaching. Intact vision, hearing and speech. Manual dexterity. Must be able to function under rapidly changing and stressful conditions.


Exposure to blood, excrement and possible exposure to infectious and communicable diseases.


Interns will be evaluated by the supervising Child Life Specialist following each rotation. Students will also be required to complete a self-evaluation during each rotation and an evaluation of the internship program.

Internship Application Deadline, Offer, Acceptance, and 2nd Offer Dates Updated January 2018

Internship Session

Application Deadlines

Initial Offer Dates

Acceptance Dates

2nd Offer Date


September 5

2nd Tuesday
of October

Following Wednesday

Following Thursday


January 5

of February

Following Wednesday

Following Thursday


March 15

of May

Following Wednesday

Following Thursday