Mission and Vision

Child Centered Care

You know more about your child than anyone else. Because we only treat children, we know more about how to address the unique physical and emotional needs of kids. From overcoming serious illness, to primary care, Children’s National is the region’s only dedicated health system designed with kids in mind.

We honor a mission that goes back more than a century and embody a vision that goes forward just as far: to bring health and well-being to all children.

Whether a small baby needs open-heart surgery, or a teenager has a serious flu – when a child is sick, parents rely on our specialists to provide the most advanced care, tailored to their child’s unique needs.

Children's Mission

As the nation’s children’s hospital, Children’s National Health System aims to excel in clinical care, advocacy, research, and education. We provide a quality healthcare experience for our patients and their families. We also improve health outcomes for children and lead in the creation of innovative solutions to pediatric health challenges.

Children’s Vision

As the nation's children's hospital, we will set the standard of excellence for the care of children. Each year, we see more than 300,000 children who come from the nation’s capital, Maryland, Virginia as well as from across the country and around the world. Our internationally recognized pediatric specialists provide the best possible care, and we offer a variety of services that support the entire family.

Children’s Child-Centered Vision

Feedback from our families helps us refine our first child-centered vision, which looks at the hospital experience through a child’s eyes. Healing a child’s body, mind, and spirit takes more than medicine: it takes a team to fulfill a family’s dream.

Children's By the Numbers

By the Numbers


Founded in 1870, Children’s National Health System has grown from a modest 12-bed facility to the integrated healthcare system we are today. Our team members are among the most experienced pediatric primary and specialty care providers in the country, and our advocacy and health promotion programs give all children the best chance for a bright future.

With 313 beds, a community-based pediatric network, eight regional outpatient centers, and collaborations around the region, we’re the premier provider of acute pediatric services in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Children’s National is the only freestanding children’s hospital between Philadelphia and Atlanta. With locations in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, we take a team approach to caring for children in their communities. More than 1,500 nurses, 800 physicians, and hundreds of allied team members provide care for infants, children, and adolescents, averaging more than 460,000 outpatient visits each year at health clinics in the District of Columbia, affiliated centers in Maryland and Virginia, and at the Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children’s Medicine in Washington, DC.

Other facts and statistics based on fiscal year 2013:

  • Annual admissions to the hospital - 14,944
  • Average length of stay - 6.1 days
  • Surgical cases performed - 17,867
  • Diagnostic imaging procedures performed - 123,332
  • Laboratory tests performed - 1,050,451
  • 65,000-plus hours of service donated by volunteers
  • 126 patients from 21 countries received care
  • $46.2 million provided in uncompensated care

We are the regional referral center for cancer, cardiac and critical care, fetal medicine, neonatology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, pediatric emergency medicine, and trauma. Our Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center is the region’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, the highest rating possible, and serves the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia.

We also are the largest non-government provider of primary care in the nation’s capital, delivering care at community centers and mobile health services to help make quality care more accessible to children and families.

Beyond our borders, state-of-the-art telemedicine capabilities enable our specialists to bring knowledge and expertise to children around the world.

To address the most challenging problems in children’s health, our Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation facilitate collaborations between clinical divisions and researchers. Their discoveries enhance our vision to transform healthcare for children worldwide. As of the last fiscal year, there are more than 475 research projects at Children’s National. More than 53 percent of the research funding comes from federal agencies, including 40 percent from the National Institutes of Health.

We also are a teaching hospital, training the next generation of pediatric healthcare professionals. Children’s Research Institute oversees our educational activities and academic affairs and the Department of Pediatrics at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

In July 2010, Children’s National received the prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award grant, from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science, to establish the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a partnership between Children’s National and The George Washington University.

Child-Centered Care

Child-Centered Care

Parents and guardians are our best resource in caring for children. As the most important person in a child’s life, we encourage you to stay with your child throughout their stay at Children’s National. We offer open visiting for parents and guardians 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It’s important we include parents as a member of a child’s healthcare team because you play an essential role, especially after discharge. We will ensure you are prepared with answers and resources as you become the primary caregiver at home.

When a child is seriously illness, it impacts everyone in the family — and our team cares for them all. We have different teams providing comprehensive psychosocial and mental health services for our young patients and other services available for parents and siblings.

Committed to child-centered care

Healing a child’s body, mind, and spirit takes more than medicine: it takes a team to fulfill a family’s dream. By incorporating feedback from our families, we have developed a child-centered vision that looks at the hospital experience through a child’s eyes.

Do our main campus, regional outpatient centers, and other facilities look appealing to a child? Do staffer members look happy to help you – from the parking lot to the physician’s office? Whether through weekday morning rounds with treatment teams or other opportunities, we want to make it clear that the way we work focuses on you, the parent, and your family.

What is your child’s family constellation? Are there siblings? Are there grandparents, aunts, and uncles who play a major role? Knowing this and other information about you helps us understand who this individual is. It helps us to look at every child and family as unique.  

Collaboration is essential

We seek to understand your perspectives and needs as you become familiar with what specialized care we provide onsite or in your home community.

If you seek a consultation or second opinion, we respond with flexibility. We will work with you to evaluate your child and to develop an approach for his or her care, sharing information with you openly and consistently while maintaining your privacy and confidentiality.

Care with dignity and respect

We take into account your family’s perspectives, choices, knowledge, values, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds as we plan and deliver care. We encourage your participation in your child’s care and your decision-making in the short term, and in the long-term, as we develop healthcare policy and programming, healthcare facility design, professional education, and the overall delivery of care for all children.

Providing exceptional experience

Respecting the Patient Experience is the hallmark of what we do. The experience that families have resonates throughout the child’s experience as an outpatient or inpatient. At Children’s National, our patients and families have access to medical rounds held twice a day on the unit. Our Parent Navigators assist families whose children have complex medical challenges. The Patient Family Advisory Council is intrinsically woven into the care we provide and families can take advantage of many programs, support groups, and patient- and family-centered care committees.

Complimentary Southwest Airline tickets are available to families who need to travel unexpectedly to the hospital for medical care; also at all of our locations, discounted hotel rates are available for families and hospital guests. Dr. Bear’s Den is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom furnished apartment for families whose children are patients at the Sheikh Zayed Campus. Our Volunteer Services, Child Life, and Social Work teams play vital roles connecting families with support services.

We recognize each child who comes to us as individuals who has his or her own set of circumstances. Making sure your child’s overall experience - whether lasting a few hours via an initial consultation or spanning several days– is pleasant, efficient, and effective is our top concern at Children’s National. Children’s medicine isn’t part of what we do, it’s all we do.   

The Child's Advocate

The Child's Advocate

The Child's Advocate

We have a longstanding history of advocating for children in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and around the nation. More than 40 years ago, we established the nation’s first hospital-based office focused exclusively on child health advocacy. We continue to make advocacy a priority by incorporating it into our mission.

The Child Health Advocacy Institute (CHAI) identifies and studies threats facing children, and develops and implements programs to address those threats. As a national leader in the field of pediatric health advocacy, our goal is to improve health outcomes through discovery, delivery and dissemination of best practices. Read the latest CHAI Impact Report.

From its home in the nation’s capital, CHAI develops, promotes, and implements programs to address these threats and meet the needs of underserved children.

Key issues and activities include:

CHAI Impact report
  • Burn safety because burns are among the most devastating and painful injuries for children and we treat hundreds of children every year for this often preventable injury.
  • Bullying's health risks are investigated by our clinicians and researchers, who also study the pediatrician’s role in youth violence prevention, supporting efforts such as the Clinic for Health Problems Related to Bullying headed by Jorge Srabstein, MD.
  • Child Health Data Lab is a repository for data collection, the engine driving our advocacy priorities in Washington, DC, metropolitan area.
  • The District of Columbia Healthy Communities Collaborative is a partnership of local hospitals and community health centers responsible for development of the 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment and the 2014-16 Community Health Improvement Plan. These documents form the framework for our community benefit program
  • DC Health Matters public web portal is a one-stop resource for online access to local health indicators and progress towards improving the overall health of the community.
  • Dr. Bear's University, started in 2006, allows elected officials, business and community leaders and pediatric physicians to spend a day-in-the-life at Children’s National, including rotations with physicians and observing the special care given to our young patients.
  • Our Injury Prevention Coalition strives to prioritize injury prevention for children and their families, caregivers, public officials, residents, and visitors.
  • In collaboration with the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health, CHAI coordinates the DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care, an initiative of the District of Columbia’s community-based mental health action plan.
  • Maintaining ideal oral health by providing free fluoride varnish for children up to 3 years old in licensed day care and Head Start programs in Washington, DC. They are painless, tasteless, and help prevent cavities. The CHAI leads the DC Pediatric Oral Health Coalition.
  • Science Café 360 is a series of informal conversations in comfortable community-based settings coordinated in collaboration with our Clinical Translational Science Institute to dialogue directly with the public about the priority health issues upon which we are working and introduce the scientists who are at the forefront.
  • Our Sickle Cell Disease Program is one of the busiest in the country; we treat more than 1,400 patients each year. We collaborate with several organizations to bring awareness and work to improve the lives of pediatric patients who suffer from debilitating symptoms associated with the disease.