An academic internship program at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla is among the first hospital-based programs of its kind to be accredited by the Child Life Council, a national organization representing more than 5,000 specialists who help children cope with hospitalization and other challenging events.
Coordinated by its Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team, the hospital’s program is the first in New York state and one of only five hospital-based programs in the nation to have received the new accreditation for the education and training of interns pursuing master’s degrees. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network.
Its therapy team helps children of all ages cope with hospitalization. The team is comprised of certified child life specialists, a board-certified music therapist and a board-certified art therapist.
Hospital officials said the internship program is similar to a residency program through which qualified graduate students gain experience working with children hospitalized in an advanced care setting under the direction of the special therapy team. The program prepares students for a future role in the discipline and hospital officials said many former program interns are employed as child life specialists at facilities around the region, including Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
“Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is an academic institution that is helping to train not only tomorrow’s pediatric specialists, but also its child life and creative arts therapy specialists,” said Tricia Hiller, director of Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy at the hospital on the Westchester Medical Center campus. “We are proud to receive this accreditation and expect it to lead to even more qualified applicants.”