When a child is born with a craniofacial condition it can increase a parent’s anxiety and fear. The Craniofacial Center offers emotional and social support so families can better understand the child’s diagnosis to increase awareness and confidence to best care for their child.

New Jaw, New Life

Born with virtually no jaw bone and enduring more than 20 surgeries throughout her childhood, Abby finally found help from Dr. Raymond Harshbarger at Dell Children’s.
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Educational Videos

videosParents/caretakers can access educational videos posted on the Craniofacial Center’s website. The videos feature members of the medical team providing an overview of the various phases for the treatment for cleft lip/palate. Having access to these videos is one way to educate the family about their child’s condition so that they can be active participants in the care of their child. There are additional videos featuring the parent perspective on their child’s treatment journey from birth to now.

Quarterly Newsletter

The SMILES: Bring Families Together Newsletter is shared with our families and community partners on a quarterly basis. The newsletter highlights the good work conducted by our medical team at Dell Children’s Medical Center, in the Austin community, and beyond. It also features the personal stories and triumphs of patients in life and on their medical treatment journey. Sharing news worthy activities is a good way for patients and families to stay connected with their medical team and other families.

Family Fun Events

Families who are part of the cleft lip/palate program are invited to come out to enjoy themselves at events the Craniofacial Center sponsors. These events are great opportunities for families to meet other families on the same treatment journey as themselves. In the spring, we have Family Fun Day at Zilker Park. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the games, a piñata, and a ride on the train. In December, the Craniofacial Center offers an end of the year party for families to come together to enjoy arts and crafts, snacks, and a picture with Santa Claus. All of these wonderful events are possible thanks to the support of Austin Smiles: The Austin Plastic Surgery Foundation.


Weekend Camp

Camp Amigo is a fun-filled weekend that the Cleft Team and Austin Smiles: The Austin Plastic Surgery Foundation hosts every year at Camp for All. This is a unique camping experience that provides our patients born with cleft lip-palate the chance to be themselves, make friendships, and have a great time. Campers take part in challenging and exciting activities that inevitably enhances their confidence, independence, and self-esteem.


Campers learn new skills and bond with others. Each activity is facilitated by camp counselors with members of the cleft medical team and valuable volunteers from the University of Texas and Austin’s Austin Smiles team close by to keep campers safe and make certain campers feel included, supported, and part of the fun. Here is a link to the Camp For All website: http://campforall.org/

Social Work

The Craniofacial clinics work in a collaborative manner to provide family-centered and culturally-competent care to our patients and their families. The social worker’s role is to provide the medical team a glimpse of the patient’s life outside of the clinic to identify the patient’s strengths and also the possible barriers to effective treatment. For the patients, the social worker offers guidance and counseling to help them navigate the social and emotional aspects of their condition, identify helpful community resources, and make referrals to appropriate agencies and organizations. The social worker partners with the parent or caretaker to advocate on behalf of the patient to make certain patient feels safe, secure, and has the supports in place to achieve academic success.