Counseling and Support

All caregivers want their children to develop a positive self-image, to have the same opportunities as other children, and to mature into well-adjusted, productive adults.

Smile Train doctor next to his happy patient

All caregivers want their children to develop a positive self-image, to have the same opportunities as other children, and to mature into well-adjusted, productive adults. Caregivers of children with cleft lip and/or palate share these same hopes and dreams, but they often wonder whether their child's cleft may keep them from reaching these goals. It is essential that these children receive support from their families, friends, and trained providers as needed, to ensure that their self-esteem and confidence develop as they should. It is also important for caregivers to have a community of support as they bring their children through medical appointments and treatments.

Around the world there are groups dedicated to supporting children and their families affected by cleft lip and palate. Some are led by specialists and specific organizations, while others are spearheaded by families affected by clefts themselves. Some offer in-person activities such as cleft camps, while others are focused on online communication such as closed Facebook groups. They each have their own personality and strengths, so it is important for families to explore options to see which is best for their needs.

In addition to these resources, support can be found through CLEFTLINE, a toll-free number for information about cleft lip and/or palate. They can be reached at 1-800-24-CLEFT (1-800-242-5338) or 919-933-9044.

Financial Assistance

Depending on where you live, cleft lip and/or palate surgeries and comprehensive cleft care can be expensive. Smile Train provides financial support to cleft teams across 70+ countries so they have resources to provide free care. Please speak directly to a partner cleft team near you to see if you qualify for grant assistance.

The links below provide more recommendations and information about covering surgery and comprehensive cleft care costs in the US.