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Child Life Program

Contact Us at 303.398.1361

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The Child Life Program is play-based and helps children, teens and family members cope with illness, treatment and the overall health care experience. A trained (certified) Child Life Specialist can provide health education regarding illness, preparation for medical procedures, distraction during painful procedures, developmentally appropriate play, recreation, creative arts, and emotional support for patients and families.

The program promotes the development of supportive relationships between patients, their family members and the medical staff.

At National Jewish Health, a Child Life Specialist is involved with helping children understand different procedures performed at National Jewish Health with an emphasis on why they are important and coping strategies during the procedures. You may ask to see a Child Life at any time during your visit to National Jewish Health including clinic visits, triage visits and Day Program admissions. Child life services are available at no cost to the patient.. 

How the Child Life Program Benefits Patients

The Child Life Program helps children, teens and families through developmentally appropriate play-based activities, recreation, technology and creative arts with the goals of: 

  • Helping you and your child understand what will happen during your visit or stay.
  • Providing health education about the disease or illness.
  • Reducing fears to help lessen anxiety and remove misconceptions.
  • Tailoring an education plan to help your child understand their diagnosis, understand the procedures that they will have and why they are important and help them cope during those procedures.
  • Using distraction, relaxation exercises and other activities during medical procedures.
  • Using play activities to make being in a medical setting seem more normal and comfortable.
  • Rewarding goals achieved during clinic visits or hospital stay.
  • Helping siblings understand what’s happening and deal with any feelings they have about being in a medical setting and their sibling’s treatment.
  • Collaborating with your child’s health care team to coordinate and manage care and develop supportive relationships between patients, family members and the care team.


Child Life specialist helping pediatric patient.

What Training Does a Child Life Specialist Have?

A child life specialist has a college degree and also has earned a certification as child life professional. 

Training for the certification includes child development, communication skills, coping skills, psychology and medical terminology.

Programs to become a certified child life professional are rigorous. Academic and clinical requirements must be met, the certification exam must be passed and an clinical internship must be completed. 

Child life specialists must maintain their knowledge and be recertified via exam every few years.


The Child Life Program makes a huge difference in the health care experience for our young patients and their families. 

If you are interested in donating toys, supplies or other items, for bath toys, prizes after tests and procedures, items for distraction during and after procedures, supplies and toys for the playrooms and for patients in their rooms, please view our Wish List for the program.

For more information about the program or making a donation, please contact us at: 

Destiny Jara, CCLS
National Jewish Health Child Life Program
1400 Jackson Street A220
Denver, CO 80206


Destiny Jara

Destiny Jara, CCLS

Clinical Trials

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.

Reasons to Choose National Jewish Health

  • The leading respiratory hospital in the nation and the only one devoted fully to the treatment of respiratory and related illnesses
  • Ranked #1 or #2 in Pulmonology by U.S. News & World Report for 26 consecutive years
  • Ranked in the top 5% of hospitals in the nation by HCAHPS
  • Physicians consistently recognized among the best in the nation by multiple services, including Best Doctors in America and Castle Connolly
  • Among the top 6% of organizations funded for research by the NIH, providing patients access to hundreds of active clinical trials
  • 124-year history of focus on care, research and education serving patients from around the world with lung, heart, immune and related disorders
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