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FAQ for Parents and Families

Refer a child.

Does accepting a wish mean that we’re giving up hope for our child’s recovery?
No. Make-A-Wish® has sometimes been incorrectly portrayed as an organization that grants wishes only to children who are terminally ill. Our eligibility criteria stipulate that a child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition, not a terminal condition. The process of making a wish is life-affirming and full of hope. For many children a wish experience becomes a turning point, renewing their courage and determination to fight for a future. Our wish children who are now adults would attest to this!

Are families reluctant to accept a wish because it feels like taking charity?
There are several reasons why a family might hesitate to call us. A family might feel, for example, that they could grant a wish for their child themselves. Or they don’t want to take the opportunity away from a more needy family.

If our family can afford to pay for our child’s wish, will accepting a wish be unfair to less fortunate families?
All medically qualified children are eligible for a wish, regardless of their family’s income. Even if a family can afford to fund the wish themselves, we seek to bring elements of surprise, magic, and fun to the wish experience. We have never had to turn a wish down because of a lack of funds, and take pride in fulfilling the wish of every eligible child.

When should I refer my child for a wish?
The timing of each wish is based on the medical and emotional needs of the child and family. Referrals can be made any time after your child’s diagnosis is confirmed. We will work closely with your family and your child’s medical team to determine the best time for granting your child’s wish. We also coordinate closely with your child’s medical team to ensure that treatment protocols are never interrupted or jeopardized. Most wishes are granted within one year from the date the child is referred.

How is my child’s wish determined?
Once a child’s eligibility for a wish is confirmed, our wish-granting volunteers will schedule a time to meet with you and your child to find out what his or her wish is. Our volunteers are specially trained to help your child explore the different types of wishes and to identify his or her most heartfelt wish. This initial part of a child’s Make-A-Wish experience can generate hopeful expectation and give your child something to look forward to.

Who pays for our child’s wish?
Make-A-Wish covers the entire cost of your child’s wish. There is no cost to the family.

Will my family’s privacy be respected?
Make-A-Wish takes great care to guard the privacy of the children and families we serve. Your child’s medical information is considered confidential and is not discussed with outside parties unless it is required for the wish. Your consent is required before we can obtain or share any information regarding your child or your family.

How do I determine if my child is eligible for a wish?
If your child is between the ages of 2½ and under the age of 18 and has been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition (determined by your physician), he or she may be eligible for a wish. The medical professionals working with your child will be able to give you more information. Or you can contact our office at (805) 676-9474 .

How do I refer my child for a wish?
There are several ways to refer a child to Make-A-Wish. Call the Wish Center at (805) 676-9474 x1 or use our online inquiry form.  Medical personnel can fax referrals to (805) 850-0168 .



of parents reported that the wish experience gave their children increased feelings of happiness.*

* Wish Impact Study 2010-2011

Learn about the Impact of a Wish

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Make-A-Wish® Tri-Counties
4001 Mission Oaks Blvd.
Suite F
Camarillo, CA 93012
(805) 676-9474