Our Story

The History of ChildKind

Our founder, Dr. Neil Schechter speaks about the storied past of pediatric pain management and the birth of the ChildKind Initiative.

“ChildKind also maintains an open-access resource library that serves as a clearinghouse for vetted information and policies on treating pediatric pain. Additionally, our team of leaders in the field provide assistance to institutions working to improve the quality of the pain assessment and treatment they provide.”

Schechter, N.L., Finely, G., Bright, N.S., Laycock, M., & Forgeron, P. (2010). ChildKind: A global initiative to reduce pain in children. Pediatric Pain Letter, 12(3), 26–30.

With the recognition that institutional commitment is essential for sustained change, the concept of ChildKind emerged from the Special Interest Group on Pain in Childhood of the International Association for the Study of Pain to provide incentive for institutions to incorporate pain control as one of their core values.

An organizing meeting was held in Bellagio Italy in 2008 at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center with the support of the Mayday Fund, the Institute of International Education, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Representatives of 14 countries as well as the WHO and the Baby Friendly Initiative attended. The basic criteria – or 5 Principles as they have become known – that are necessary for ChildKind certification were established at that meeting.

The 5 Principles of ChildKind are:

  1. An institutional commitment to pain prevention, assessment, and treatment.
  2. Ongoing education programs and awareness initiatives on pain for staff, trainees, patients, and any of their caregivers.
  3. Use of evidence-informed, developmentally appropriate processes for assessment of acute and chronic pain.
  4. Specific evidence-informed protocols for pain prevention and treatment including pharmacological, psychological, and physical methods.
  5. Regular institutional self- monitoring within the framework of continuous quality improvement.


We believe that these core principles could be incorporated in any institution regardless of resource availability, assuming adequate commitment.

Significant achievements

  • Established a comprehensive and reputable process for evaluating and certifying pediatric institutions.
  • Certified most of the leading North American children’s institutions, with many additional hospitals in the pipeline.
  • The ChildKind initiative is expanding internationally with the first non-North American institution expected to be certified in 2020.
  • ChildKind has been endorsed by 12 professional health organizations.
  • A searchable resource library has been established to house an open access database of pain-related policies, protocols, and educational modules.
  • Board members have lectured about ChildKind in over 20 venues, presented abstracts at multiple professional congresses, have published on our experiences, and are developing assessment strategies to evaluate the efficacy of the certification process.
  • Additional grant support has been obtained from the International Association for the Study of Pain, the Mayday Fund, and the United State Cancer Pain Relief Committee.
  • ChildKind has been recognized with the Robert Addison Award of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Selected Highlights in the History of ChildKind


Certification awarded to:
  • British Columbia Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC
  • Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Vancouver, BC
  • Inova Children’s Hospital, Falls Church, VA


Certification awarded to:

  • East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knoxville, TN
  • C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI


Certification of the 1st non-North American institution: KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore


Collaboration with the Meg Foundation begins, expanding ChildKind’s education for patients and families


Launch of the ChildKind webinar series, including the Annual Maureen Strafford Lecture


Onset of the collaboration with Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) to broaden ChildKind’s reach in Canada


Certification of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco


Certification of three more institutions:

  • Advocate Children’s Hospital, Oak Lawn, IL
  • Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield, IL


Workshop conducted for ChildKind hospitals and prospective hospitals

Certification of Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL


Certification awarded to:

  • Children’s Minnesota, Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN
  • Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospitals, Cleveland, OH


Grant awarded from the United States Cancer Pain Relief Committee


Received the Addison Award of the American Academy of Pain Medicine recognizing ChildKind for international collaboration in pain

2012 – 2014

Identification and certification of first ChildKind hospitals:

  • Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA
  • The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Grant awarded from the International Association for the Study of Pain


Initial development of the ChildKind Resource Library


Schechter, N.L., Finely, G., Bright, N.S., Laycock, M., &Forgeron, P. (2010). ChildKind: A global initiative to reduce pain in children. Pediatric Pain Letter, 12(3), 26–30.

2008 – 2012

Organizational meeting held in Bellagio, Italy including 20 representatives from 13 countries and including the World Health Organization.

Development of the 5 Principles of ChildKind, the certification process, and the formal establishment of ChildKind International.

Grants awarded from the Mayday Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation.