NORFOLK, Va. — Legislation passed this year to commemorate National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness for July.

Thousands of people are affected by cleft and craniofacial conditions.

Cleft lip and cleft palate happen when the roof of the mouth or sides of the lips don't fuse together as babies develop. Individuals who have suffered an injury can also developed the condition as a result.

Fully accredited by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, CHKD's Craniofacial Center ensures that children will receive the most comprehensive and up-to-date care. 

This condition occurs within 1 in 700 births and can be diagnosed during a prenatal ultrasound. CHKD Craniofacial Center sees 1,000 patients and performs hundreds of surgeries per year. 

Craniofacial defects are abnormalities that involve the skull and face. Children are mostly born with it and in rare cases, they can develop as a result of trauma or disease. 

CHKD believes in early intervention and being available to meet with parents as soon as they learn of a craniofacial diagnosis. One issue that comes up frequently is the alternative to moms breastfeeding. 

CHKD's pediatric psychologists, social workers, nurses, and child life specialists provide counseling, coping techniques, and more to support the families. 

They also offer many resources for families during treatment, such as the very active Craniofacial Center Parent Advisory Group, a long-time partner of Operation Smile, and patient education videos and updated resources available on their website. 

For more information, call the CHKD's Craniofacial Center at 757-668-7031 or visit their website.