Cara Smith

Cara Smith

Childhood Education & Family Studies

Academic Interests

  • Working with the hospitalized child
  • Psychosocial needs of burn survivors
  • Therapeutic play
  • Death and bereavement
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Comfort positioning for medical procedures
  • BMT sibling donor advocacy
  • International child life opportunities

Top Scholarly Accomplishments

  • Morris, C. & Smith, C. (2013). S is for Sibling Donor Advocacy. Child Life Council Bulletin, 31.

  • “Are We Listening? The Voice of Sibling Donors,” Child Life Council’s 30th Annual Conference on Professional Issues, Washington, D.C., May 2012, Co-presented with Cara Morris.

  • “Child Life South Africa Project” (Key Note Address), Midwest Child Life Conference, Kansas City, MO, November 2010, Co-presented with Caroline Hargrave and Jamie Day.

  • “It Takes a Team: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Urgent Child Abuse Exams,” Child Life Council’s 25th Annual Conference on Professional Issues, Orlando, FL, May 2007, Co-presented with Barbra Rudder.

Previous Experience

  • Certified Child Life Specialist for 8 years at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, with focus in the emergency department, child abuse clinic, burn and general surgery unit, pediatric intensive care unit, BMT sibling donor advocate, and Rehabilitative Amplified Pain Syndrome.


Mt. Ayr, IA


  • Travel
  • Running
  • Reading
  • Volleyball
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Baking
  • Trying to teach my dog Milele the come command

Future Goals and Aspirations

Become a foster parent

Life Outside the University

Focusing on what’s most important to me in this world: my faith, my family, and my friends. Love working with organizations that invest in the lives of people and youth. Love spending Monday nights eating dinner and watching TV with my Nana.

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