Our Unique Approach

Our focus is Comprehensive Cleft Care (CCC). From parent support, to nutritional care for infants, to safe surgeries and holistic post-surgical care, a CCC treatment pathway is multidisciplinary and appropriately timed for each child’s long-term rehabilitation.

What Makes Us Different: Our Mission

A cleft diagnosis is a challenge for parents worldwide. The treatment journey can be unclear and activate all manner of fears for the future. In under-resourced communities, access to necessary care is unlikely to be available close to home and is generally beyond a family’s financial means.

Surgical missions - where foreign volunteers fly-in-and-fly-out to provide time limited services – can seek to fill this gap. Too often however, children are turned away due to malnutrition, a common cold, or too few operating slots. What’s more, expensive surgical missions are not able to provide the long-term follow-up care that many families require.

When local teams provide Circle of Care elements such as nutrition, speech therapy, orthodontics and psychosocial care, in addition to safe surgeries, a child’s outcomes improve. What’s more, they can inspire long-term change in the community and in local medical systems.

Our mission is to partner locally and innovate globally so that children and families in under-resourced communities access Comprehensive Cleft Care.

You can help to ensure children have access to the care they need at the right time, and closer to home.

Explore the Circle of Cleft Care

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Transforming Faces Circle of Care diagram outlining the various areas of cleft care


Orthodontic treatment can be functionally required by children born with cleft. In adolescence, braces, or even surgical treatment may help a child with cleft experience full rehabilitation.

Family Support

The pressures of food insecurity, community inclusion and mental wellbeing - navigating feelings of fear, guilt and isolation, are all too real for many families. Caregivers affected by cleft may require extra assistance in meeting their child’s unique needs. Access to psychosocial support and parent support groups are helpful assets.

Transportation Assistance

For many families, travel is a major barrier to care. Costs are high, distances are long and the lost wages while in transit to appointments can be prohibitive. Bringing care closer to home and ensuring that caregivers have access to adequate transportation and accommodation support are proven CCC strategies.

Psychosocial Support

Bullying and social exclusion can be an ongoing challenge for children born with cleft, even after a successful surgery. Psychosocial professionals can help children address teasing and bullying by building their confidence in responding to questions about cleft.

Psychosocial care can also alleviate a family’s fears, dispel myths and deepen their understanding of the cleft treatment journey.

Newborn Nutrition

Babies born with cleft are especially vulnerable to malnutrition. The gap makes it harder to breastfeed and a cleft palate can lead to milk being aspirated. In resources-constrained communities, alternatives such as formula and cleft-specific bottles are beyond the financial reach of many families.

Infants must achieve a healthy body weight for a safe cleft surgery, so feeding challenges delays their treatment. Persistent malnutrition is a danger to any child.


You are an integral part of Transforming Faces’ Circle of Care! TF relies on the generosity of its supporters to provide Comprehensive Cleft Care to children and families who need it most.

In under-resourced communities, access to health care is limited and access to Comprehensive Cleft Care can be non-existent. Your donations help us change that, bringing care closer to home.


All children born with cleft lip and palate will require surgical care. Safe, timely and effective surgery is a critical foundation to a child’s full rehabilitation.

While protocols vary globally, a cleft lip surgery typically takes place at 3-6 months of age and a cleft palate surgery is planned between 6-12 months. Additional surgeries may also be required to improve a child’s facial function, physical appearance, speech and hearing.

Speech Therapy

Even with surgical treatment, children often face difficulties in speech and can struggle to be understood. They are also prone to air escaping through the nose during speech. Speech therapy at the time of a child’s first words and routinely throughout their childhood can dramatically improve their lives.

Community Engagement

Many parents have never met a child with cleft until the moment their child is born. To access Comprehensive Cleft Care, communities must be aware of cleft as a condition and that treatment is possible and available. For full inclusion, misconceptions and community stigma need to be overcome.


Children born with cleft are susceptible to middle ear issues and cleft-connected hearing loss. In the absence of palate muscles, ear infections, temporary loss of hearing and delayed speech and language development can result. Ear, Nose and Throat specialists can play an important role in rehabilitation.

Dental Care

Children born with cleft are at greater risk of cavities and periodontal disease due to misaligned teeth and teeth that do not erupt. Regular dental checks are required and parents and children benefit from effective training on maintaining good oral health.

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How do we fulfil the Circle of Care?

TF’s Circle of Care maps the multidisciplinary support children require to experience good health, improved quality of life and community inclusion. Our partners ensure that families are offered support every step of the way, through personalized treatment plans and a trusted local team.

Community-Based Comprehensive Cleft Care with Transforming Faces

We want every child in a low-income country to have access to the cleft care that supports them in living a full life. Nobody should be left behind. We've partnered over the last 18 years with SRIHER in Tamil Nadu, India to build a unique Community-based Comprehensive Cleft Care model that is making this dream possible.

Where We Work

Transforming Faces is transforming cleft through long-term partnerships with care centres in 10+ countries, and we continue to grow.

Stories You Make Possible

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