The Miracle sMiles Program

Children First Foundation’s Miracle sMiles Program facilitates life-saving and life-changing surgery in Australia for children from developing countries.

Complex surgery is not readily accessible in developing countries

Many children from developing countries cannot access the complex medical or surgical care they desperately need.

By collaborating with exceptional Australian surgeons, health professionals and hospitals, and with the generous support of our donors, Children First helps facilitate access to world-class surgical care in Australia.

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Watch the video above to see some children and young people’s transformations. 

Medical conditions we assist with

Conditions must be operable, not able to be treatable without assistance in the child’s country and improve the child’s quality of life. We help facilitate surgery and treatment for a range of conditions, including Orthopaedic, Craniofacial, Neurosurgery, Plastic and Reconstructive surgery (including burns), Renal and Urology, General Surgery and Otolaryngology Head and Neck surgery.

Referring a child

 Children can be referred by family members, or with the parent’s support, by members of the child’s community, health professionals and or individuals travelling overseas. You can find out more about how to refer a child here.

Pre and post-surgical care

Pre- and post-surgery, the children and their accompanying parents/ guardians are cared for at our Retreat or with our Ronald McDonald House Charities partners around Australia. 24/7 holistic care is provided by a team of skilled and dedicated Children First staff and volunteers to maximise the results of each surgery, recognising and responding to each child’s physical, emotional and cultural needs.

The hospital and medical teams we work with

We are fortunate to partner with many world-class hospitals, highly skilled surgeons and medical professionals who kindly donate their time and resources to treating our children. We match the child with the hospital and surgeon that best meets their needs. Find out more about our Program Partners.

Preparing for surgery

 Preparing for any surgery can be nerve-racking, especially when you are away from home, in a foreign country. The Children First team spend a significant amount of time working with the medical team to make sure the child and their parent/guardian have all the relevant information and feel comfortable and reassured in the lead-up to surgery and during the recovery process. Many of the children are also undernourished, so we introduce a diet that will help them gain the necessary weight and increased nutrition that is optimal for their recovery. 

Maximising the impacts of the surgery

Most of the kids we help undergo complex surgery and treatment that requires a significant recovery period. 

The team works extensively with parents/guardians to support physiotherapy, wound management and dressings, and medication administration, all of which are vital parts of the healing process for most children. All while, of course, keeping everyone’s spirits high!

Most of the kids would not have access to the facilities or expertise when they return home. That’s why, post-surgery, the team work incredibly hard to make sure that the children have fully recovered and are in the best possible condition before they go home.


To prevent kids from falling behind in their learning while they undergo treatment, education is another key focus of our work. 

Depending on where the child is located they can access regular education. At Ronald McDonald House Charities they can access school daily by trained teachers, at the Retreat they can access lessons weekly provided by trained volunteers and at some hospitals, they can even assess weekly Hospital school!

Emotional healing

Many of the children we support have deep-rooted emotional and psychological scars. Some may have been ostracised and excluded from their community and from attending school because of their condition or appearance. The Children First team actively work with the children to help them build their confidence and independence, learn new skills, and develop their interests and goals.

Return home 

Once a child returns home, we maintain regular contact to ensure they progress well. We also make sure that they can access ongoing support as needed. Further assistance is also available through our Back-Home-Support Program.