The Smile Squad Project



‘’Making Smile Squad services accessible and appropriate for students from refugee backgrounds’’



Six months from July 2023


What are the project goals?

  • Improve plain language information about Smile Squad.
  • Recommend methods for improving access to Smile Squad services.


What will be the methodology?

Community-based consultations and development of resources using a co-design approach.


Which communities will we be working with?

We will be undertaking consultations and co-design work with parents from East African countries (Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan, and Ethiopia) in the Richmond area of Melbourne. Then, we will be testing the project findings with another community.

If you want to know more about the project, scroll down for more details.


What is Smile Squad?

Smile Squad is a team of Victorian dental professionals who check children’s teeth and provide treatment if they require. They work from Smile Squad vans that go to primary and secondary schools across Victoria. Below is a photo of the Smile Squad van.

When did Smile Squad start?

The program started in 2019 and the program will be fully rolled out by December 2023.


Who is leading Smile Squad?

The Department of Health (DH) and Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) are leading the development of this initiative in partnership with the Department of Education and Training (DET).


What is CEH’s Smile Squad project?

With funding from the Victorian Department of Health, and over 6 months starting from July 2023, CEH will be undertaking a project to making Smile Squad services accessible and appropriate for students from refugee backgrounds.

The project will be implemented as a three-pronged approach including community-based consultations and co-design work with East Africa refugee communities (Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea) and testing with another refugee community.

Consulting with a specific refugee community and testing with another will ensure that the findings and outcomes of the project will be applicable to – and benefit – other refugee and CALD communities across Victoria.


This project is ongoing. If you would want to hear more about the project or have any questions, please contact Tere Dawson at