The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital

Child Life Program

Child Life Specialists

Child life specialists are trained professionals who help children cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury, disability and hospitalization. They are health care team members who focus on supporting the unique psycho-social, emotional and developmental needs of each child and family. BBCH child life specialists are bachelors or masters trained and maintain nationally-recognized child life certifications. Our team also includes a child life assistant who organizes daily activities and events in the inpatient unit playroom.

Child Life Services

Child life specialists collaborate with families and health care providers to help pediatric patients cope with health care experiences. Services include:

  • Preparation for medical procedures or treatments using developmentally appropriate language and teaching dolls
  • Providing support and distraction during medical procedures
  • Introducing and supporting effective coping strategies to assist with medical experiences

The BBCH care team values the importance of play in a child’s development. Our child life specialists provide developmentally-appropriate opportunities for play and expressive activities. Play in the health care setting can include:

  • Diversional and recreational activities to help normalize the hospital environment and provide entertainment and distraction
  • Therapeutic play to facilitate self-expression, promote coping and support the achievement of health care goals
  • Medical play to promote coping and mastery of health care experiences

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of the child life team, please contact us at 207-662-2424 or

Child Life Internship Program

The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital Child Life Internship Program provides clinical opportunities and professional experiences required to enter the field of child life services. Our 15-week, 600-hour internship program prepares interns for the Child Life certification exam.

We will not be accepting students for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Hospital School Program

The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital (BBCH) Hospital School Program offers education services for hospitalized children and their families. The program is for children in kindergarten through 12th grade and is led by a Maine certified teacher.

Patient Experience

We want your child's hospital stay to be as comfortable as possible. Learn more about how to stay connected during a hospital stay, how to access spiritual care, ways to pass the time and more.

Latest News

View All

Woodbury Building on Southern Maine Health Care Campus Planned for Demolition

Elements from the building’s history will be preserved to honor the legacy of Dorothy ‘Dot’ Woodbury.

Stephens Memorial Hospital Welcomes Dr Kim Perreault as New Chief Medical Officer

Stephens Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kim Perreault as the new Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Perreault takes over for Dr. Ryan Knapp who was recently promoted to the Vice President of Physician and Ambulatory Services for Stephens and MaineHealth Medical Group, Mountain Region.

SMHC Opens New Location for Complex Wound Care in Sanford

Southern Maine Health Care Wound Care in Sanford is now equipped to handle complex wounds through the advanced technology of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Local Artist Supports SMH Food Pantry

South Paris community member and folk artist, Linda Richardson, recently presented Stephens Memorial Hospital Food Pantry with a gift of $1,200 to benefit the MaineHealth Food Pantry at Stephens Memorial Hospital.