Is my child eligible?

They must:

  • Be 11-16 years of age (inclusive) at the time of application.
  • Have at least one parent/guardian who has a Community Services Card, or the child must receive an Orphan’s or Unsupported Child’s Benefit.
  • Have at least TWO of the specified severe orthodontic problems (your dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist can help with this).
  • Have family/whānau who are able to make a donation to the Wish For A Smile Trust to help cover our administrative costs.
  • Be able to give back to their community by volunteering for 20 hours with a community organisation.
  • Be keen to have braces – this means being able to keep their teeth clean and look after their braces.
  • Have healthy teeth and gums and receive regular dental care.
How do I apply?

Please see our Apply page

When do I find out if my child has been accepted?
  • Applications close twice a year – on the 28th of February and 31st of August.
  • Applications are then processed by our National Selection Committee.
  • If your child has been selected to proceed to the second stage of the application process, you will be advised within THREE months of the closing date.
Does the Trust cover the costs of jaw surgery?
  • No, the Trust does not cover the cost of jaw surgery.
  • If your child’s bite problem is so severe that it requires jaw surgery to correct, then your WFAS application will probably be declined, because of a lack of government funding for jaw surgery.
Can my child reapply after they have been declined?

Yes, they can. However, you need to wait a full calendar year before reapplying (i.e. if you are declined in a February round, you can apply again in the following February). You will need to submit a new updated application.

What happens if my child is accepted to stage 2 of the application process?
  • Your child will be assigned to a local specialist orthodontist, who will assess their orthodontic problems and take photos and x-rays at no charge.
  • The orthodontist will send these photos and x-rays to the National Selection Committee, who will then decide if your child will be accepted for orthodontic treatment.
What are my child’s responsibilities if they are accepted for treatment?
  • Successful orthodontic treatment depends on excellent cooperation.
    • Your child will need to wear orthodontic appliances. These may include plates, braces and rubber bands. The quality of the end result depends on how well your child wears these appliances and the rubber bands.
  • Your child will need to:
    • Attend all scheduled appointments (every 5-8 weeks).
    • Keep their teeth clean to prevent decay and gum problems.
  • You will need to help your child organise 20 hours of community volunteer work. These hours MUST be completed within the first 6 months of orthodontic treatment. Your child will be asked to submit a signed logbook to the Trust to confirm that they have completed their requirement. For information on options for volunteering please click here.
  • Your family/whānau will need to make a donation to the Trust to help cover the administrative costs. This is a minimum of $15 a week for 52 weeks ($780 total).
Where can my child volunteer?

Some examples of places to volunteer include:

  • Helping out at a school breakfast club
  • Doing odd jobs with the school caretaker or at the school library
  • Ask at the local library, community hall or church whether there are any small jobs that need to be completed
  • Spending time at a local rest home
  • Assisting at a local community op shop (Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul etc)
  • Assisting in your community, local neighbourhood or wider whānau if there are people in need of help who your family knows well (ie mowing lawns, helping with tasksaround the house)
  • Asking at your local library, community hall or church- they may have small jobs you can help with

Volunteer work must be completed during the first 6 months of orthodontic treatment. A member from the organisation will need to sign off the 20 hours in a Volunteer Work Logbook.

If you have any other questions, please click here to contact us.