Child Life Program

It's child's play!

Every family has questions and every patient, from toddlers to teens, at El Paso Children's has unique needs. 
The hub of family-centered care, child life specialists enhance patients' emotional, social and cognitive growth during a hospital stay, and encourage parents to be actively involved in their child's plan of care, giving special consideration to each child's family, culture and stage of development.

Child Life Specialists use developmental interventions and play to:
  • Help patients and families adjust to and understand the hospital and their medical situation.
  • Help patients develop ways to cope with fear, anxiety, separation and adjustment to the hospital experience.
  • Provide consultation to the health care team regarding developmental and psychosocial issues.
  • Provide preparation and individualized support before and after medical procedures.
  • Facilitate developmentally appropriate play, including medical play, at the bedside, in activity rooms and in clinic areas.
  • Initiate tutoring services.

As professionals trained to work with children in medical settings, each specialist holds a bachelor's or master's degree in the areas of child life, child development, special education or recreation therapy. Questions may arise about a child's behavior and adjustment to home or school after they have been in the hospital. Child Life Specialists are available to help families with these issues by  offering:

  • "Back-to-school" programs, on referral, following a patient's extended hospital stay
  • Resources tailored to meet each child's needs
  • Suggestions to ease transition and recovery 

Donors Make a Difference in Child Life

Remember the "tell 'em what you're going to do, tell 'em what you're doing and tell them what you did"?  Well, that's a Child Life Specialist.  Suddenly your child is sick.  It's hard to take it all in at once.  You're scared.  Your child is scared. Your Child Life Specialist is there to help you and your child understand, answer your questions and provide calming support.  That's important stuff.  We are committed to providing whatever support we can to facilitate that process.

Click here to read about a grant recently given to the Child Life Program. 

Thank you, too, to the Hervey Foundation for their grant!


Chemo Ducks

The Foundation provides each child who undergoes infusion with a Chemo Duck buddy.  Chemo Duck is a cuddly pal who plays a very important part of a child’s medical team.  The 12 inch tall cuddly Chemo Duck wears blue hospital scrubs and a bandana. 

There are two types of Chemo Ducks. One has a Hickman line with a Port-A-Cath just like his owner.  He wears a yellow bandana and has a small bump under his bandage. Just like his little owner, the bump is where the medicine goes when the child is getting medicine at the hospital. 

All Chemo Ducks have a little cover that goes on their arm. This is called a no-no arm immobilizer. This helps hold the IV in place. Chemo Ducks also have deep belly buttons. The belly button is where Chemo Duck’s feeding tube goes.  Chemo Ducks helps kids feel safe and understand what is happening when they are going through infusion treatment. They also help mommies and daddies, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends understand what is happening to someone they care about. 

Click here to view a video about one of our little patients and Chemo Ducks.

Milagro Bead Program

Art in action, each Milagro Bead represents a step or medical procedure that tells the story of each patient's progress. Hand-selected by a volunteer group of local beaders and funded by the Foundation, each bead is uniquely selected and matched to the occassion. For children coping with serious and life-threatening illnesses each bead tells a story of their survival. 
Click here to view a video about Milagro Bead program and our local volunteer beaders who selected each bead.


Vecta Distraction Stations

Even simple ultrasounds can provide challenging moments with a child that is sick, scared, or special needs. Vecta DistractionStations create an empowering multi-sensory environment full of visual stimulation. Easily portable, the Vecta Distraction Station converts patient rooms, treatment rooms, waiting rooms, playrooms and more into a distracting and relaxing environment with bubble column, projected images and streaming fiber optics colors. The Foundation funded one Vecta Station for each hospital floor.
Therapeutic Arts

The Therapeutic Arts Program is entirely supported through El Paso Children's Foundation through grant support and general donations. 

The Therapeutic Arts Program helps children cope and even transcend the hospital experience by self expression, and speed the healing process.  Each week patient's are invited to participate in a themed activity that allows them to express their own experience through art often producing stunning results.


Educational and sensory toys, games and books.

The Foundation funds a variety of tools that assist the Child Life Specialist in finding just the right toy, tool or solution to successfully distract, engage and challenge patients to learn, play safely, and have fun! 



Pink Panther Books, $3,000

Funded by El Paso Children's Foundation through Board Member Martha Eisenberg and Family in memory of her mother, Florence Green Morgan, diabetes patients admitted with Diabetic Ketoacitosis receive a set of these two Pink Panther books from the Children's Diabetes Foundation: "A First Book for Understanding Diabetes" and "Understanding Diabetes". The books provide information on diabetes in an easy to read and fun format for the patients and caregivers to hlep them better understand diabetes. 

Gifts to Child Life program impact the well-being of every patient and every family at El Paso Children's Hospital.


Donors interested in more information on Child Life donor opportunities that impact our community's most vulnerable population can email
or click here to donate now.

Foundation Child Life volunteers provide amenities and special support to families of patients at El Paso Children's. To learn how to become a Child Life volunteer, email