Child Life

As the only Child Life program in western North Carolina, our department serves the region’s diverse population of children from all developmental levels and medical diagnoses.  Our goal is to ease the stress and anxiety of medical experiences by providing activities that support you and your child’s ability to cope with the hospital experience through play, developmentally appropriate education for procedures and/or diagnoses, and expressive activities. Child life specialists work closely with caregivers and the medical team to address your child's concerns and stressors in order to provide a more comfortable hospital experience.

With funding from a Toshiba Putting Patients First grant, Mission Children's Hospital finds innovative, not to mention fun, ways to reduce anxiety and sedation in children undergoing a pediatric MRI.

Child life specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of children, collaborating with parents and other members of the team to* 

*(From the Child Life Council.)

  • Ease a child’s fear and anxiety with therapeutic and recreational play activities
  • Foster an environment that incorporates emotional support
  • Encourage understanding and cooperation by providing non-medical preparation and support for children undergoing tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures
  • Advocate for family-centered care
  • Engage and energize children and families by coordinating special events, entertainment, and activities
  • Consider the needs of siblings or other children who may also affected by a child’s illness or trauma
  • Direct pre-admission hospital tours and resources, and consultations with outpatient families
  • Support families confronting grief and bereavement issues
  • Provide information and resources for parents and members of the interdisciplinary team

Child Life Staff

Child life specialists are professionals trained at a bachelor's or master's level and then certified by the National Child Life Council to help patients and their families minimize stress and trauma during medical experiences. The Child Life Department also includes a team of child life assistants and volunteers to help provide an engaging play environment during the medical experience.  For more information about child life specialists, please visit

Child Life Contact Information

Mission Memorial Hospital Campus
(828) 213-7337

Reuter Outpatient Campus
(828) 213-1792

SECU Cancer Center Campus
(828) 213-2547

Child Life Manager
(828) 213-0689