Forest Hills, NY – Elected officials, nonprofit leaders, and community members gathered May 15 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Forestdale Queens campus to celebrate the launch of a new dental clinic serving children in foster care.
Nationally, 35% of children enter foster care with severe dental and oral health problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Children’s Dental Clinic represents the latest step in an ongoing partnership between Forestdale and the New York University School of Dentistry to address the oral care needs of children in foster care.
“Our goal is for kids to leave with healthy smiles and confidence,” said Forestdale Executive Director Anstiss Agnew. “We want the children to have state of the art dental care and knowledge that puts them on a path to life-long good health.”
US Congresswoman Grace Meng hailed the Forestdale-NYU model. “We need more programs like this for youth in foster care,” she said.
The Children’s Dental Clinic is located in one of four program buildings dedicated to children and family services on the Forestdale campus. In its first year, the clinic will ensure top-quality oral health services to over 350 children in foster care.
“NYU College of Dentistry has a strong commitment to serving the community,” said Dr. Mark Wolff, Chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care. “We want our students to dream big about how they can serve others.”
Staffing at the Children’s Dental Clinic is provided by fourth-year NYU dental students under the supervision of experienced professors. The in-house clinic provides comprehensive preventive care, while more advanced procedures are performed in the NYU Dental Van that visits Forestdale twice a month.
NY Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz said, “This is one of those home runs where everyone benefits. Kids get great care, dental students gain experience, and parents get the support they need.”
The Dental Clinic is the third health initiative by Forestdale and NYU to improve the life-long outcomes for foster care youth. The Forestdale Children’s Health Clinic and Trauma Systems Therapy programs operate in partnership with the NYU College of Nursing and Child Study Center.
Forestdale is a family services agency dedicated to the future of children in Queens. Its mission is to ensure children have the fundamental assets they need to thrive: a safe and loving home, education and career opportunity, and health literacy. With a history of service dating to 1854, Forestdale serves over 1,200 families from Astoria to Far Rockaway every year.