Texas Association of Child Life Professionals (TACLP) got its start in the biannual meetings of the Child Life Think Tank in Texas. Created in 2014, the association assists in connecting child life professionals in Texas, as well as facilitate a yearly conference.

The founding board members worked for 3 years to start TACLP and they included

President: Krista Stringer, MS, CCLS,     Children's Health, Dallas, TX

Treasurer: Erin Clancy, MPA, CCLS, CEIM     Our Children's House, Dallas, TX

Secretary: Alyssa Luksa, CCLS     Children's Memorial Hermann, Houston, TX

Webmaster: Zoe McCoy, M.Ed, CCLS, CIMI     Women's Hospital of Texas, Houston, TX

Conference Planning Chair: Vikki Pennington, LMSW, CCLS     Children's Memorial Hermann, Houston, TX

Outreach Community Chair: Linsey Hammon, MS, CCLS     Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX

Professional Development Chair: Cassandra James, MS, CCLS     Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Dallas, TX


The History of Child Life in Texas by Kat Davit

  • 1974: First program started by Sally Francis at Children’s Health Dallas, followed quickly by the second program started by at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston by Jackie Vogel.
  • 1980:  “Child Life Specialist” title officially adopted at the ACCH conference in Dallas.
  • 1991:  Camp John Marc opened and quickly became a therapeutic camping model for organizations across the country and abroad.  Child Life was a part of the programs from the planning stages.
  • 1998: Exam site for the first “on the road” version of the Child Life exam held in Dallas.
  • 2000:  First child life class taught by Certified Child Life Specialists Kat Davitt and Jill Koss at the University of North Texas.
  • 2001:  With funding from the LiveStrong Foundation, child life specialists Meredith Cooper and Melissa Hicks opened Wonders & Worries in Austin, TX to support children of adult cancer patients.
  • 2006:  Child Life Council conference held in Dallas.
  • 2006:  Cinda McDonald became the first CCLS in Texas working in a hospice program (Community Hospice).
  • 2008-2009:  First master’s programs created at Texas State University and Texas Woman’s University.
  • 2011:  First student Think Tank held at Cook Children's Medical Center.
  • 2011:  Baylor Health Care System introduced the first program solely for children of adult patients.
  • 2014:  First resident dog program in the state at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
  • 2015:  TACLP emerged from student Think Tank.
  • 2016:  Cook Children's Medical Center clinical internship program became the first fully ACLP accredited student program in the state.
  • 2017:  First TACLP regional conference held in Houston, TX.
  • 2018:  Second TACLP regional conference held in Fort Worth, TX.