“The surgery is the technical bit, but you have the whole child to manage while they’re here... it only works because you’ve got the support of the Foundation, which understands their emotions, engages them with rehabilitation, and all the other stuff that has to keep happening.”

Associate Professor Leo Donnan, Orthopaedic Surgeon

Children First Foundation’s mission is to enable more disadvantaged children from developing countries to have access to life-saving and/or life-changing surgery and excellent medical care.
Values: We are compassionate, respectful, ethical, equitable and courageous.


Two out of three people worldwide do not have access to safe surgical care when they need it most – Most of these are children from developing countries.

Children First Foundation was established by like-minded people (largely volunteers and Rotarians) who shared a vision for a world where all children have access to medical and surgical care, regardless of where they were born.  

Children First has facilitated life-changing and life-saving surgery for disadvantaged children from developing countries since 1999. Today, Children First has four programs:

  1. Miracle sMiles (surgery in Australia),
  2. In-Country Surgery,
  3. the Back Home Support Program and
  4. the Today Tomorrow Project

We receive no government funding and rely on the generosity of our donors, corporations, trusts, foundations, and pro bono partners. 

Children First has DGR status, and all donations over $2 are fully tax deductible. We are so grateful to our amazing Children First family who give so generously!

Donate today


Miracle sMiles  (Australian based surgery)

Miracle sMiles facilitates surgery and pre- and post-surgical care in Australia for disadvantaged children from developing countries who cannot access the surgery they need within their home country. Children First collaborate with exceptional surgeons and health professionals across Australia to achieve the best outcomes possible for the children from developing countries. 

Pre and post surgery, children are based at our Children First Retreat or with our Ronald McDonald House Charities partners around Australia.

Read more about the Miracle sMiles program

In-Country Surgery

Children First collaborate with a select number of overseas hospitals to facilitate surgery locally. In these cases, we work extensively with our medical advisors to ensure clinical governance, surgical safety and a high standard of care.

Read more about In-Country Surgery

Back Home Support Program

At Children First Foundation, we are committed to changing the future of the children we assist. While our Miracle sMiles and In-Country Surgery focus on life-changing surgical treatment, our Back Home Support Program provides small grants to help children achieve their goals post-surgery. 

Read more about the Back Home Support Program

The Today Tomorrow Project

Children First’s capacity building initiative – The Today Tomorrow Project – uses project specific grants to addresses the underlying barriers to children accessing medical care in their own country sustainably into the future.

Read more about The Today Tomorrow Project