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Program aims to get NYC foster kids easier access to dental care

May 11, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

NYC Foster Program
Making access easy: NYU College of Dentistry — represented by Dr. Mark Wolff  (left), and Dr. Andrew Schenkel  (second from left) — is partnering with New York City Administration for Children's Services to provide on-site oral health education and care to youth in foster care. Julie Farber, behind the chair, is the Administration for Children Services commissioner of family permanency services; Rickeem Parker, to her left, is an 18-year-old resident of the Children’s Center; and Rebecca Chew, front, left, is Administration for Children’s Services associate commissioner.
New York — Children in foster care are expected to have easier access to dental care thanks to a partnership announced in May between the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and the New York University College of Dentistry.

Through a mobile dental care program, students supervised by faculty at the NYU dental school will offer weekly, 30-minute education sessions on oral health followed by screenings and restorative treatment to children. Those requiring additional treatment will receive expedited appointments at the university.

“NYU College of Dentistry hopes that our program will become the dental home for most of these children,” said Dr. Mark Wolff, a dentist with a Ph.D., a professor and chair of cariology and comprehensive care at the NYU College of Dentistry. “Every child will receive a comprehensive examination and prophylaxis fluoride treatment.  They will receive comprehensive instruction on how to best take care of their own teeth.”

The program is starting with a single location, the Nicholas Scoppetta Children’s Center, a temporary housing center for children and youth not immediately placed after removal from their homes. That location sees about 80 children come in each week, said Dr. Wolff, who is also an associate editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Dr. Wolff said the program is expected to expand to other locations throughout New York City, potentially “reaching thousands of children.”

More than 3,000 children enter through the Administration for Children’s Services each year for services, according to Marisa Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the organization.

"What this partnership means is that thousands of kids 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,” said Administration for Children’s Services commissioner David Hansell in a news release.

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