May 18, 2007

Head Start health, dental screenings available

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Head Start program is partnering with other area health agencies to provide children's health and dental screenings.

In addition to Head Start, participating agencies are the Shawnee Health Service, Franklin Williamson Bi-County Health Department and Jackson County Health Department. Head Start requires the screenings for youngsters enrolling in the program.

The health screenings will be held, by appointment only, at the Murphysboro Health Center June 11, the Adolescent Health Center in Carbondale on June 12 and at the Carterville Family Practice Center June 13. The health screenings are for children enrolled in Head Start for the fall session and include a physical exam by a medical provider, hemoglobin testing, and immunizations if needed, along with lead screening and TB skin tests for all new SIUC Head Start children. Those receiving the TB skin test will return 48-72 hours later for test reading.

Parents should bring with their child a copy of the child's immunization records, current medical card or other insurance card. Those without insurance should bring paycheck stubs for all family income earners to qualify for financial assistance. To schedule appointments for the health screenings, call the central Head Start office at 618/453-6448.

The SIUC Head Start and the SIUC Community Dental Clinic are partnering to offer dental screenings, with no appointments necessary, from 1 to 4 p.m. June 14 at the Carbondale Head Start Center and from 10 a.m. to noon June 15 at the Marion Head Start Center. All children accepted for the 2007-2008 school year in the Head Start program, along with any sibling who will be entering kindergarten, second or sixth grades and any child transitioning from Head Start to kindergarten are eligible for the dental screenings.

Parents should bring the child (ren) along with a copy of the child's current medical card or All Kids card if available. A parent must accompany the child to complete permission forms. The SIUC Community Dental Clinic dentist will conduct visual examinations of each child's mouth and teeth. Head Start will work with the Community Dental Clinic and the family to ensure additional treatment is available at a later time if the exam determines the need. The screening does not include teeth cleaning or fluoride treatments but does offer important information about good dental care for children.

For more information about the dental screening, contact Toni Kay Wright, Head Start health and nutrition coordinator, at 618/453-6448.

Enrollment continues for the SIUC 2007-2008 Head Start program. Head Start provides a comprehensive program to prepare income-eligible preschool-age children ages 3-5 residing in Jackson and Williamson counties for school. Parental involvement is important in Head Start. The program offers half-day sessions at no cost and full-day sessions with fees for qualified applicants.

Head Start provides countless services including reading and writing help, teaching basic computer skills and life skills, social interaction, nutritional meals and snacks, bus transportation in some areas and much more. In addition to the Carbondale Center, the program has locations in Johnston City, Marion and Murphysboro. Co-locations are at the Eurma C. Hayes Center in Carbondale and the Logan Preschool and Malone's Early Learning Center, both in Carterville. For more information about the program or enrolling a child, call 618/453-6448 or 618/997-2216.