NYU Offers Screenings and Education for Kids Entering Foster Care

Dentistry Today


The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is partnering with the New York University (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.

The college will offer weekly, 30-minute educational sessions on oral health at the Children’s Center, followed by screenings and restorative treatment. Children who need additional treatment will be referred to and seen in expedited appointments at the school. As the partnership progresses, the goal is to provide similar dental services for the rest of ACS’s 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 ACS commissioner David Hansell.

“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. I want to thank NYU College of Dentistry for its partnership and leadership,” Hansell said.

“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 Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care. “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 due to dental-related illness, NYU Dentistry reports. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 40% 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, the school says. 

NYU Dentistry further states that the single most common chronic childhood disease is dental caries, which 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, the school says, and 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 the system as well as ongoing dental and medical care. Having this dental clinic on site at the Children’s Center will mean faster and easier access to dental care, NYU Dental says.

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 professionals provides support and clinical services to these children to reduce trauma associated with maltreatment as well as loss and separation from their parents and primary caregivers.

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