ACS, NYU College of Dentistry partner to bring dental care to foster children

5/10/2018, 1:14 p.m.
The Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner David A. Hansell recently announced a new partnership with NYU College of Dentistry to ...
toothbrush and toothpaste

The Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner David A. Hansell recently announced a new partnership with NYU College of Dentistry to provide dental screenings to children in foster care onsite at the Nicholas Scoppetta Children’s Center via a mobile dental care program. Hansell was joined by Mark S. Wolff, DDS, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at NYU College of Dentistry, to make the announcement.

As part of this partnership, NYU College of Dentistry will offer a weekly 30-minute educational segment on oral health at the Children’s Center, followed by screenings and restorative treatment (fillings). Children requiring additional treatment will be referred to and seen on expedited appointments at NYU College of Dentistry. As the partnership progresses, the goal is to provide similar dental services for the rest of ACS’ programs through NYU where appropriate.

“Today’s ACS is committed to enhancing the lives of the children we serve, and this new partnership with NYU College of Dentistry is one more way that we’re providing the most comprehensive care possible to children in New York City,” said Hansell. “What this partnership means is that thousands of children in foster care will have easier access to critical dental services—like screenings, fillings and more—which will put them on track to a healthier life overall. I want to thank NYU College of Dentistry for its partnership and leadership.”

“Studies conducted at the NYU College of Dentistry have demonstrated that when children lose the family structure that is needed to help manage their diet, brushing and routine dental care, it affects their oral health, including an increase in tooth decay,” said Wolff. “NYU Dentistry is committed through this program to begin the process of improving oral health for this most vulnerable group of children.”

Each year, 51 million school hours are lost nationally because of dental-related illness. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 40 percent of children in foster care have significant oral issues. In addition to pain and infection, issues with oral health can mean difficulty eating or speaking.

According to NYU College of Dentistry, the single most common chronic childhood disease is dental caries (cavities); it occurs five times more often than asthma and seven times more often than hay fever. Children in poverty experience twice the caries rate as those who are not poor. They are four times more likely to be untreated for these issues.

All children in foster care receive medical and dental screenings when they first enter foster care as well as ongoing dental and medical care. Having this dental clinic onsite at the Children’s Center will now mean faster, easier access to dental care.

The Nicholas Scoppetta Children’s Center is a child-friendly facility that operates 24 hours a day, temporarily housing children and youth who are not placed immediately after removal from their homes. An interdisciplinary team of child protective specialists, social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, child care staff and administrative staff provide support and clinical services to children to reduce trauma associated with child maltreatment as well as loss and separation from their parents and primary caregivers. This facility is a unique safe haven, and reception, assessment and temporary transition center for children entering the foster care system. All daily living needs are provided to protect vulnerable children in a safe and child-friendly environment. That includes stabilizing fragile children while caring for their medical, social, emotional and physical needs and concurrently providing children with a smooth transition to placement.

The Administration for Children’s Services protects and promotes the safety and well-being of New York City’s children and families by providing child welfare, juvenile justice and early care and education services. For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/acs.

Founded in 1865, New York University College of Dentistry is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the U.S., educating nearly 10 percent of all dentists. NYU Dentistry has a significant global reach with a highly diverse student body. Visit http://dental.nyu.edu for more information.