Riverbend Head Start & Family Services (RHSFS) has announced its award of a $10,000 grant from Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation for its Oral Health Education and Access Project.
The scope of this project is to give access to oral health services to the more than 750 at-risk children under the age of five in our Head Start programs. It also provides oral health education for kids and their parents or caregivers.
“We are so thankful to have a partner such as Delta Dental Foundation supporting our efforts to ensure that the children of Riverbend have healthy smiles,” said Gene Howell, President and CEO. “Poor dental health can contribute to a host of other health issues if left untreated. We want our Head Start kids to be healthy and feeling their best, and oral health is a big part of that.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by the time they reach eight years old, more than half of children (52 percent) have had a cavity in a primary (baby) tooth.
The children in the RHSFS program receive dental screenings, treatments, and surgeries thanks to its community partners like Delta Dental. RHSFS covers the cost of treatments and surgeries through Associated Pediatric Dentistry and Riverbend Pediatric Dentistry for RHSFS families who cannot afford to pay for the procedures themselves. Staff can also help transport the child and their parents or caregiver to dental appointments.
At the beginning of each school year, RHSFS staff will conduct home visits with our families using Delta Dental’s Brush Early Childhood Health Curriculum. Parents and caregivers are also asked to complete an oral health questionnaire. RHSFS staff helps educate parents about the importance and impact oral health can have on a child’s overall health and ability to learn in school. Staff can also observe dental habits, and help create an action plan to prevent future oral health decay.
About Riverbend Head Start and Family Services
Riverbend Head Start & Family Services is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that began supporting the families and individuals of Madison County in 1916. Currently, they operate six centers, offering a two-generational approach that supports the growth of parents and children through its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These programs serve more than 1,000 people annually.