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Grants Database

Inclusive Dental

Kids Smiles

Grant Category: Access to Care for Underserved Communities

The Inclusive Dental project provided 252 children with special needs and disabilities with comprehensive dental care in Kids Smiles’ Southwest Philadelphia dental center. Our clinical and front desk staff also received professional development training from Keystone First to improve their skills in treating special needs patients and with communicating with special needs patients and their families. During the grant period our clinical staff also began developing universal guidelines for the treatment of children with disabilities and special needs. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to pause the project in March 2020 and then alter it for the safety of our vulnerable Inclusive Dental patients but we plan to resume the full services of the project in 2021 and complete the guidelines that will be made available to a diverse range of dental providers, enabling them expand access to dental care in their own communities. The Inclusive Dental project significantly increased access to care for children with disabilities and special needs and provided critical access to a dental home for children who currently face significant barriers to oral health services.

Kids Smiles’ Outreach team promoted the Inclusive Dental project during educational outreach visits to autistic support classes and inclusive classes in our partner schools as well as to community partners through the committees our Education and Outreach Director participates in including the Health Services Advisory Committees and Promise Zone Foundation Committee. Our Outreach team also promoted the program to parents/caregivers in two Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia primary care centers, Delaware County WIC offices, Head Start and Early Head Start locations, and parent/caregiver oral health workshops. Kids Smiles collaborated with Keystone First, Temple University, and University of Pennsylvania. Keystone First referred disabled and special needs patients they serve to Kids Smiles, while Penn and Temple University provided professional development and continuing education to Kids Smiles’ clinical staff.

We also collaborated with our community outreach partners including Upper Darby School District, Delaware County IU Head Start, WIC, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to provide outreach oral health education and resources for families to access dental care at Kids Smiles.

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