About Cleft Lip and Palate Association

The Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA) works to improve the lives of people born with a cleft and their families in the United Kingdom.

We are a 20,000-strong community of parents, patients, cleft healthcare professionals and more, all dedicated to raising awareness and working together to overcome any barriers caused by cleft lip and palate.

Our vision is of a society where everyone affected by cleft feels supported, connected and empowered to take control wherever they are on their cleft journey.

What is Cleft Lip and Palate?

Early on in pregnancy, different parts of the face form and come together just above the top lip. If this doesn’t happen quite as it should, the result is a gap or ‘cleft’ in the upper lip, the palate (roof of the mouth), or both. It’s usually caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors coming together in a way which can’t be predicted or prevented. Around one in 700 people are born with a cleft – that’s 1,200 each year in the UK alone.

Cleft lip and palate has a wide range of causes, issues and outcomes, with a treatment pathway lasting twenty years or more. No two families will be affected in the same way. The journey through treatment and beyond isn’t easy, but CLAPA believes that with the right help and support, everyone affected by cleft can face the world with a smile.

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