Medical Clowning and Foster Care

Medical Clowning and Foster Care

Past Project (2018 – 2020)


Since 2019 the USC School of Dramatic Art’s Medical Clowning Program has partnered with Children’s Bureau, the largest investor in child abuse prevention in the country, to bring medical clowning into their mental health programming which provides a space for affected children to receive emotional and transitional support. USC Medical Clowns work alongside mental health counselors during monthly support groups to improve outcomes in therapeutic interventions for children and their guardians who are affected by significant familial disruptions.

Furthermore, the program presents interactive workshops for Children’s Bureau staff, providing them with new techniques that may build self-esteem and assist with addressing children’s difficulty with emotional reactions and social connection.

This project is an opportunity for USC students and faculty to be active in their community, utilizing their artistry to serve those in need. This is the first program in the United States to use medical clowning as a therapeutic complement in this setting.

Globally, the foster care system is traumatic for children, interfering with their ability to cope with emotions and interact with others. The Medical Clowning Program’s play-based, non-verbal approach will help cultivate attachment focused interactions that will create healing connections amongst affected children and their caregivers.


  • Introduces play to improve outcomes in therapeutic interventions for children and their foster guardians
  • Builds capacity by training Children’s Bureau staff in new techniques to increase children’s self-esteem
  • Deploys medical clowning in the service of foster care for the first time, offering new learning outcomes
  • Provides USC School of Dramatic Arts students valuable experiential learning in a challenging setting