Child & Family Life

Play, family and school are important parts of a child’s life. When illness, injury or hospitalization disrupts these normal activities and relationships, the result is often increased fear and anxiety – not only for the ill child but the entire family. Child and Family Life at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital provides many programs and activities that create normalcy, comfort and a little bit of fun during their healthcare journey. We use play-based activities and interventions to facilitate coping and adjustment under circumstances that can often feel overwhelming.

Programs and Services

The Department of Child and Family Life offers many programs and activities that help children and families gain coping skills, minimize stress and anxiety, promote healthy development, increase self-esteem, and reduce fear and isolation. We help families continue to be families when a child is sick.

  • Activity Therapy provides play opportunities for children in a non-threatening environment. Bedside activities are provided for patients who aren’t able to leave their rooms.
  • Art Therapy uses art to help patients build long-term coping skills.
  • Music Therapy encourages patients to express feelings, and promote relaxation through music.
  • Medical Play and Procedure Preparation helps reduce patients’ anxieties about medical procedures by educating them about diagnoses, procedures and treatments.
  • Hospital School Program has certified teachers who are on staff to assist children in keeping up with their schoolwork.
  • Family Center offers a comfortable and relaxing environment for families with children in the hospital.

About Us

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 as a hospital school program through a generous donation from the Ann Arbor Kiwanis Club, the department has grown into what we know today through the generosity of many organizations and individuals.

Our Team

The Child and Family Life department consists of a unique and multi-talented group of individuals. Our staff includes:

  • activity therapists
  • activity therapist associates
  • art therapists
  • a music therapist
  • certified child life specialists
  • certified hospital teachers

We hold degrees and certifications in a variety of disciplines, including child development, therapeutic recreation, art therapy, music therapy and education.

Get Involved

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 relies on fundraising and generous financial gifts for the half of its budget that is not subsidized by the University of Michigan Health System. Child and Family Life activities are not paid for by insurance or by patient families. If you would like to support our work through a financial contribution, please send a check payable to CW Child & Family Life to:

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
Child & Family Life Department, F8419
1500 East Medical Center Drive SPC 5251
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5251

We also welcome a variety of material donations. If you would like to help support our work with in-kind donations, please contact the Children’s & Women’s Family Center at 734-764-6874 and ask to speak with a Mott Community Relations staff member.

Volunteers are an important asset to Child and Family Life. Volunteers assist with activities in the Activity Centers, at the bedside or in outpatient areas. Their generous donations of time add a unique, personal dimension to our family-centered care environment. To find out more, visit UMHS Volunteer Services.

Contact Us

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, F8419
1500 E. Medical Center Dr.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5251
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Phone: 734-936-6519
Fax: 734-647-6416
E-mail: mottchildlife@umich.edu