Child & Family Support Services
Our family support services make navigating medical options and managing the difficult factors of child illness easier for patients and families. Whether helping you find the information you need, introducing you to a support network of other families or providing coping strategies, our staff and services are available to help.
Child & Family Support services include:
Connecticut Children’s ArtReach program supports the healing and wellness of our pediatric patients and their families through art and music. Using the creative process to enhance physical and emotional well-being, our creative and expressive activities reach more than 50,000 patients and families each year.
While participating in art, music and dance activities, patients and their families are able to reduce stress, feel a sense of empowerment, and increase self-esteem.
Programs designed for both inpatient and outpatients settings include:
- Bedside Music
- Daily Art Activities
- Dance Therapy
- Music in Public Places
- Music Instruction and Recording
- Visiting Artist Program
To reach the ArtReach program coordinator, please call 860.545.9700.
Bereavement Support services are facilitated by a multidisciplinary group of physicians, nurses and family support staff who volunteer to serve bereaved families and fellow staff members who need to grieve their losses.
Our program offers short- and long-term support for families in the form of monthly bereaved parent support groups, a monthly support group for parents who have suffered neonatal loss, and two-year follow-up assistance for all families who have suffered the loss of a child.
The volunteers also serve as a vital link to other community bereavement resources when particular needs are identified.
Learn more about Bereavement Support by calling Child & Family Support Services, 860.545.9700.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a supporting partner of CaringBridge, a nonprofit organization that makes families’ health journeys easier.
For families, CaringBridge provides an online space where they can connect with loved ones, share updates and receive support throughout their child’s health event.
Families personalize their own site which family and friends can visit, all at no cost.
Connecticut Children’s Center for Care Coordination (formerly the Special Kids Support Center) empowers families of special needs children. For more than a decade, it has provided culturally competent care coordination, working with well-established partners and community-based providers.
Services available through the Center for Care Coordination include:
- Needs assessment
- Care coordination
- Communication between care providers
- Support to parents and providers
- Benefit coordination
- Medical home implementation
The Center for Care Coordination specialists strive to facilitate comprehensive care to meet the medical and social needs of special needs children and their families in effort to help special needs children achieve their greatest potential. Our specialists are available to help families maximize care benefits and will advocate on behalf of the family for access to health care, public education and other community services.
The Center for Care Coordination also trains and provides technical support to community-based primary care partners, so those practices can become medical homes for all children.
The Center for Care Coordination oversees the HUSKY Plus Physical program, which provides healthcare for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) through the Connecticut Department of Social Services. It is the recipient of the Title V Maternal Child Block Grant funded by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Hospital Bioterrorism grant awarded in recognition of the Center for Care Coordination’s outstanding emergency preparedness measures for special needs children.
For more information about Connecticut Children’s Center for Care Coordination, call 860.837.6200 or toll-free 877.743.5516.
Child Life specialists facilitate coping and use a variety of interventions to support the emotional needs of hospitalized children, as well as their siblings when appropriate. Child Life specialists prepare children for medical procedures in an age-appropriate way and provide children with coping strategies throughout painful, invasive or difficult situations. They work to promote child development and provide opportunities for therapeutic play, socialization, mastery, and normalcy in a physically and emotionally safe environment.
Child Life specialists:
- Assess children’s understanding of their hospitalization, illness, treatment or procedure
- Offer medical education, preparation and support to children undergoing tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures using coping skills, distraction or guided imagery
- Encourage children’s growth and development by incorporating play and age-appropriate activities
- Provide means of diversion, expression, and healing through art, music, pet therapy and other programs
- Assist brothers and sisters who are coping with their sibling’s illness or hospitalization
- Help families deal with death and grief
Contact Child Life staff weekdays at 860.545.9700 or call 860.545.9000 evenings, weekends and holidays.
Internship and Practicum Opportunities
Child Life offers both internship and practicum experiences for those pursuing child life as a career. These opportunities are typically offered for Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Click on the links below for more information. *Please note, internship or practicum opportunities will not be available for the Summer 2017 semester.
If you have further questions, please contact Christine Tatem at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is dedicated to meeting the communication needs for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Interpreters are available by request for deaf and hard of hearing patients, family members and companions. Appointments are made in advance to ensure that all medical information is understood and that there is an opportunity for questions to be answered in the most effective and convenient way possible. To learn more, call 860.545.9700 or 860.545.8330 TTY.
Loaner Hearing Aid Program
At one time or another, most hearing aids require some repair. Since this process can take between two and four weeks, our loaner hearing aid program is designed to maintain your child’s access to sound while repairs are made. As long as your child has visited Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for a hearing aid assessment and has had a hearing test within the past year, you can request a loaner hearing aid for up to two weeks.
Connecticut Children’s loaner hearing aids are digital behind-the-ear hearing aids, fit to the needs of each child. They are available at all Connecticut Children’s locations where audiology services are offered.
To request a loaner hearing aid for your child, please call 860.545.9642.
Family Support includes medical social workers who assess the bipsychosocial functioning of patients and families and intervene as necessary. Interventions may include connecting the patients and families to necessary community resources, providing supportive counseling or grief counseling, and helping patient families expand and strengthen their network of social supports.
Family Support Clinicians can assist with:
- Concerns about coping
- New diagnosis support
- Parenting and care-giving concerns
- Child maltreatment
- Fostering support of medical care plan
- Need for concrete resources
- Grief, loss or end of life issues
- Crisis intervention
Family Support Clinicians are available to several specialties, including:
- Clinical Care Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
- Pulmonary Medicine
- Emergency Medicine
- Primary Care
- Special Kids Support Center
Family Support provides 24-hour coverage, seven days a week. Regular hours of operation are 8am-5pm on weekdays.
Family Support clinicians are on-call to the hospital daily from 5pm-8am on weeknights and 24-hours on weekends and hospital holidays.
Contact Child & Family Support Services by calling 860.545.9700.
Communication is essential for quality clinical care. It is the policy of the Connecticut Children’s to provide understandable information to patients, families and companions in the language with which they are most familiar.
Bi-lingual interpreters and cultural mediators are on staff to communicate with children and families and to advocate on their behalf.
Interpreters and cultural mediators:
- Facilitate appropriate Spanish-language communication between families and providers
- Serve as a cross-cultural link for families and providers
- Promote cultural awareness and sensitivity among health care teams
- Conduct pre-op tours and pre-op teaching in Spanish
- Advocate with community agencies on behalf of families
- Provide appropriate financial and community resource referrals
- Provide written translation of hospital-wide documents
To request interpreter services for your upcoming appointment at Connecticut Children’s, please call 860.545.9700.
Connecticut Children’s Kidsline is a telephone referral service provided for parents which links them to the physicians, programs and services offered by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Referral specialists of Kidsline are prepared to help callers contact the department which best meets their needs.
Examples of questions that are appropriate for Kidsline:
- Our family doctor says that my child may have more than just a heart murmur. Does your hospital have any specialists in children’s heart problems?
- We just moved here from the Midwest. Can you help me find a pediatrician in this area?
- My daughter’s teacher thinks she may have a learning disability. What kinds of services does Connecticut Children’s Medical Center have to detect a potential problem?
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm (voicemail receives after-hours messages)
If you are a parent or guardian, contact Kidsline by calling 1.800.243.1552.
Pastoral Care provides spiritual and religious support to children and families, a source of comfort during lengthy hospital stays, difficult diagnoses, a complex illness, and death. In line with cultural or religious preferences, we also facilitate contact with community clergy and resources as needed.
Located on the third floor of the medical center, the Charles and Alice Heilig Meditation Room is open 24/7.
Sunday Catholic Service
Led by Father Charles Jacobs, Sunday Catholic service is held at 3pm in Conference Room E at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
For more information, call Pastoral Care weekdays from 8am-5pm, 860.545.9700. On weekends, evenings and holidays, please call 860.545.9000.
Having support from other families who share similar experiences can help families cope with the distress and challenges that come with child illness. Connecticut Children’s is home to several support groups that have been formed by current and former patient families, most often related to a specific illness or condition.
All families are welcome to attend support group meetings, which are often facilitated by Connecticut Children’s social work professionals and typically meet on a monthly basis.
Contact your child’s care team for more information about our support groups.