May 22, 2008

Head Start, dental clinic offer free screenings

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Community Dental Clinic and SIUC Head Start are partnering to offer free summer dental screenings to Head Start enrollees and their siblings.

The on-site dental screenings are set for 1-4 p.m. July 29 at the Carbondale Head Start Center, 1900 N. Illinois Ave., and 1-3 p.m. July 30 at the Marion Head Start Center at 907 N. Vicksburg St.

The SIUC Community Dental Clinic dentist will examine each child's mouth and check his or her teeth. The screening does not include teeth cleaning or fluoride treatments. However, if the visual examination indicates the need for additional treatment, Head Start will work with the Community Dental Clinic and the family to provide treatment.

No appointments are required but parents or guardians must register children by July 16. Contact Toni Kay Wright at the SIUC Head Start central office by calling 618/453-6448 or 618/997-2216 to provide each child's name, birth date and medical card number.

Any child with a current medical card accepted by the Head Start program for the 2008-2009 school year may participate in the dental screening. In addition, the screening is open to any sibling with a current medical card who will enter kindergarten, second grade or sixth grade this fall. The exam will fulfill the dental examination required for school.

A parent or guardian must accompany the child to the dental screening to complete permission forms. They must bring the children's current medical cards to the screening.

Enrollment is continuing for the SIUC 2008-2009 Head Start Program, too. The new session begins in August. Children must be at least 3 years old but not attending kindergarten to be eligible for Head Start. Preschool children with disabilities are welcome as well.

Children get reading and writing help, learn basic computer and life skills, enjoy social interaction and enjoy nutritious meals and snacks at Head Start. The program offers weekday morning, afternoon and all-day sessions. There's no cost for the partial day programs. Income determines eligibility for the full-day program. Free bus transportation is available in designated service areas.

For registration information, contact Head Start's administrative office at 1900 N. Illinois Ave. between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 618/453-6448 or 618/997-2216.