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 Medical Center Dallas, followed quickly by the second program started by at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston by Jackie Vogel.
- 1975: Texas Children’s Child Life Department was started by Jackie Vogel
- 1980: “Child Life Specialist” title officially adopted at the ACCH conference in Dallas.
- 1985-1987: Sally Francis from Children’s Medical Center Dallas served as President of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH).
- 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.
- 1991: The first Child Life program in Austin was established and funded by the Austin Junior League (hospital is now Dell Children’s). Pediatric Oncology program was initiated, and Meredith Cooper was hired at the first pediatric child life specialist with Cynthia Fitchpatrick joining her the next year.
- 1996: Child Life, in partnership with Social Work, Allergy Immunology and AIDS Foundation Houston, established Camp HOPE-the first overnight camp in the Southern United States for children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
- 1996-1998: Ellen Hollon at Children’s Medical Center Dallas served as Child Life Council President
- 1998: Opening of the new Children's Hospital of Austin, the first and only hospital for children in Central Texas. Child Life program now responsible for the Playroom, Entertainment Center, preoperative Skippy program, volunteer training, community Skippy program, and community group visits.
- 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.
- 2000: First Houston Child Life Conference hosted by Texas Children’s.
- 2001: With funding from the LiveStrong Foundation, child life specialists Meredith Cooper and Melissa Hicks opened Wonders & Worries in Austin, TX.
- 2002: Second Houston Child Life Conference hosted by Texas Children’s.
- 2004: Third Houston Child Life Conference hosted by Texas Children’s.
- 2006: Child Life Council Conference held in Dallas.
- 2006: Ellen Hollon from Children’s Medical Center Dallas received the Distinguished Service Award at Child Life Council Conference.
- 2006: Cinda McDonald became the first CCLS in Texas working in a hospice program (Community Hospice).
- 2007: Fourth Houston Child Life Conference hosted by Texas Children’s.
- 2007: Children’s Hospital of Austin ceases to exist as Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas opens at the old Mueller Airport site. Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is proud to be the first hospital in the world to earn platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for outstanding Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
- 2008-2009: First master’s programs created at Texas State University and Texas Woman’s University.
- 2009: Fifth Houston Child Life Conference hosted by Texas Children’s.
- 2011: First student Think Tank held at Cook Children's Medical Center.
- 2011: Sixth Houston Child Life Conference hosted by Texas Children’s.
- 2011: Baylor Health Care System introduced the first program solely for children of adult patients.
- 2013: Seventh Houston Child Life Conference hosted by Texas Children’s.
- 2014: First resident dog program in the state at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
- 2015: Texas Association of Child Life Professionals (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.
- 2016: Texas Woman’s University launched a fully online MS in Child Life
- 2017: First TACLP regional conference held at Children’s Memorial Hermann in Houston, TX.
- 2017: Wonders & Worries expanded into San Antonio, TX.
- 2018: Second TACLP regional conference held at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, TX.
- 2018: TACLP Professional Development Newsletter was established.
- 2019: TACLP launched an Instagram account.
- 2019: TACLP established a Common Child Life Practicum Application utilized for applications due in October 2019.
- 2019: TACLP established the Internship Scholarship Award of $500 each semester. The first winner was Macey Boster for the fall 2019 internship semester.
- 2019: Baylor Scott and White Health team with CCLS won The Beryl Institute 2019 Organization Innovation Award
- 2019: Wonders & Worries RCT of our six-session illness education program was completed.
- 2019: Third TACLP regional conference held at MD Anderson in Houston, TX.
- 2019: Jill Koss at Cook Children’s is currently serving as ACLP President.
- 2020: National ACLP Conference held in San Antonio, TX.
It THRILLS me to write this post-conference blog! I hope all who went to conference had a great day of networking and learning as I know I did! I want to send a HUGE thank you to Children’s Memorial Hermann for hosting us and the TACLP Board and committees who worked tirelessly to pull off the inaugural TACLP conference! Another big thank you to all of those who made the trip and participated as well as all of our presenters! Extra thanks goes to the inaugural and founding board who worked so hard over the past almost four years to establish this group and establish committees, and the conference.
HUGE congratulations to the following people who will serve on the new board from 2017-2019. I am honored to work with them to build upon the great foundation that the previous board laid for us to help grow our region and profession even more.
President: Krista Stringer (Children’s Health, Dallas)
Treasurer: Christy Lange (Children’s Memorial Hermann, Houston)
Secretary: Zenia Hudson (Ben Taub, Houston)
Webmaster: Sarah Davis (Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, San Antonio)
Professional Development Committee Chair : Amber Hill (Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Houston)
Conference Committee Chair: Audra Trussell (Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth)
Outreach Committee Chair: Riley Hammond (Texas Children’s, Houston)
Students Committee Chair: Laura Wiedemann (MD Anderson, Houston)
The new board will communicate their formal goals in January 2018, but below are some things we are already looking at for next year:
- Expanding into more social media (Facebook, Instagram, Linkden, etc)
- Continue outreach with regional clinical programs and outreach even more with academic advisors
- Outreach with other regional groups
- Create a Calendar of Events on the TACLP website to list upcoming educational opportunities within child life
- List the regional intern/practicum sites and contacts and common practicum offer dates for students to easily access
- List the child life workshop events in the region and around the country for students to easily access
- Continue hosting the annual Think Tank and Conference-next year’s conference is October 26 and 27 at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, TX
We also encourage you to look out for the Call for Committee Interest which will go out via email in January 2018! Being on a committee below is a GREAT way to get involved, and we encourage you to consider applying.
Conference Planning Committee
Professional Development Committee
On behalf of the new board, we look forward to working with you all over the next two years to continue to make strides to grow our region and profession!
President of TACLP