The Child Life Program at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center serves pediatric patients and their families in both inpatient and outpatient settings throughout the hospital. Child Life Specialists assist families in coping with illness and hospitalization by:

  • Facilitating positive patient coping strategies through preparation and support for medical procedures
  • Assisting families in dealing with grief and loss through bereavement interventions and the creation of legacy items
  • Increasing awareness and understanding of the medical environment with diagnosis education and resources
  • Affording patients and their siblings opportunities for developmentally appropriate play and socialization

Currently, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center has 3 full-time Child Life Specialists and 1 full-time Activity Coordinator that cover numerous Outpatient Clinics, the Inpatient Pediatric Unit, Intensive Care Units, a Level I Trauma Center, Adult Palliative Care and the Jim Seidel Expressive Art Garden and Play Area.

The main goal of a Child Life Specialist is to provide a comforting, safe environment for hospitalized children and their families. Preparation, diagnosis education, and procedural support are all integral components to coping positively with hospitalization and illness.

Children enjoy therapeutic play activities at the bedside, and in activity room/teen lounge settings. These settings are furnished and maintained through donations, and give children the opportunity to explore and gain mastery over the hospital environment. No medical tests or procedures are allowed in this “safe zone,” although doctors are welcome to come and play!

We have a few non-profit organizations: CoachArt provides activity workshops; Elizabeth’s Canvas provides art therapy in our Outpatient and Inpatient settings; Children’s Music Fund provides music therapy to our pediatric patients on the Ward and PICU.

Make-A-Wish referrals, birthdays, holiday parties, and special entertainment are provided by Child Life staff. Special events are also made possible by the generosity of donor groups such as Cheer For Children.

Contact Information:

Melissa J. Hebron-Abo
Director of Child Life Services

Phone: (310) 222-2130