Child and Family Life

Child and Family Life strives to reduce the negative psychological, social and emotional impact of hospitalization and serious illness that affect the development, health and well-being of infants, children, youth and their families. Services are tailored to the patient and family through assessment, intervention, prevention, advocacy and education. As integral members of the medical team, Child and Family Life professionals provide programs and services that are designed to foster important opportunities for coping, growth and development while focusing on the value of play and relationships as important aspects of the healing process.


As one of the first established programs in the nation, Child and Family Life at the University of Michigan Health System has advocated for ill children and their families since 1922. Established through a generous donation from the Ann Arbor Kiwanis Club, the hospital school program was born. Through years of continued generous support from Kiwanis of Michigan, as well as many other philanthropic donations, the department has grown into what we know today – a multi-talented group of activity therapists, activity therapist associates, art therapists, a music therapist, certified child life specialists and certified hospital teachers.


Child and Family Life is dedicated to promoting a positive health care experience for the children and families that we serve.  Special entertainment and events, such as puppet shows, theatrical or musical performances, or specialized craft activities can bring much happiness to a hospitalized child and his or her family.  All interested groups are required to review our entertainment guidelines and fill out an application.  All applications are reviewed for appropriateness of activity, size and ages of the visiting group, and scheduling availability.  Filling out an application does not guarantee acceptance of scheduling a visit, but we will do our best to accommodate your request


Child and Family Life is not reimbursed by insurance or families, but instead relies on fundraising and generous financial gifts for the half of its budget that is not subsidized by the University of Michigan Health System.