Children First Foundation

Who we are 

Children First Foundation (CFF) is an Australian based charity. We facilitate life-changing, sometimes life-saving, surgery in Australia for disadvantaged children from developing countries. These children are unable to access the medical care that they need, as the complex, and often multiple surgical procedures required, are not possible in their own countries. Throughout the past 20 years, Children First Foundation has enabled over 350 children from 32 countries to receive the surgery, treatment and 24/7 care they need.

What we do 

CFF assists children with a wide range of congenital conditions or acquired injuries. Each case referred to us is carefully assessed to ensure that the condition is operable, and that suitable treatment isn’t available in-country. If we can’t support them, we do our utmost to refer children to another humanitarian organisation that can. If we can support them through the Foundation’s Miracle sMiles Program, our key activities can be very basically explained using the following diagram:

Program Overview


Pre and post-surgery the children are cared for at our Miracle sMiles Retreat in Kilmore. The Retreat is supervised 24/7 by a team of volunteers and skilled staff, including nurses. Volunteer teachers provide home schooling and a range of physiotherapists and other allied health specialists donate their time to ensure that rehabilitation and recovery programs are carefully followed. This unique model of community-based care provides a home-away-from-home for the children as they prepare for, and recover from, life-changing surgery.

Project Outcomes

The direct outcomes of the Miracle sMiles Program range from saving a child’s life to increasing mobility and other physical functionality, removing disfigurements and reducing pain.

However, these surgical interventions have a much broader impact on our children and their families than simply improving their health. The surgeries often remove some of the barriers they face in achieving long term economic independence such as access to education, work and social acceptance. The impacts are often much more wide reaching than the individual. For example, increasing a child’s independence may allow a mother to return to work, resulting in extra funds for the family ensuring that siblings can attend school. The support ripples out to improve the lives of the families and wider community of the children we assist. 

As CFF is not eligible to receive government funding, we are relying on the generosity donors to support us in meeting this goal. Any funding that we receive ultimately allows us to ensure more children will have access to the life-changing surgery they need.