Santa Rosa, CA – June 25, 2015 – On June 29, 2015 the First 5 Sonoma County Commission, Community Action Partnership (CAP) and Women, Infants, Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC) celebrate 10,000 preventive dental visits at WIC clinics for children ages 0 to 5. The WIC Dental Days program has counseled over 2,000 parents annually on effective preventive behaviors for children. Recently, First 5 approved a two-year contract for Dental Days with CAP totaling $100,000 to continue this effective partnership.
To respond to the growing need for affordable dental care for young children, First 5 began funding the Dental Days program at WIC sites in 2009. This program provides care at an age when dental caries, commonly known as cavities, can be entirely prevented. The U.S. Surgeon General has identified dental caries as the most common chronic childhood disease, five times more prevalent than asthma. If left untreated, childhood caries can lead to serious consequences impacting the health, education and social welfare of children.
"The strong partnership between First 5, the Department of Health Services (DHS) WIC Program, and CAP demonstrates the clear success of a holistic approach to reducing health disparities in our community," stated Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who also serves as a First 5 Commissioner. WIC clinics serve clients in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, and Guerneville.
This collaboration is a simple yet powerful solution to the problem of preventing dental disease in children from low-income families. The program provides dental assessments, parent education, fluoride varnishes, and on-site treatment coordination for children enrolled in WIC programs. WIC Dental Days is a Tier 2 (Promising Practices) Program on the Upstream Investments Portfolio and has received national recognition for its innovative partnership with a County WIC program.
When the program launched in February 2010, there was limited to no access to dental services for young children with Medi-Cal. The WIC Dental Days Program has been proven to be effective in achieving healthier outcomes for children and their families. Further, the goals and priority outcomes in this program align with First 5's strategic plan," said Alfredo Perez, First 5 Executive Director.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recognized this achievement and partnership with a Gold Resolution. The Board also specifically recognized Dr. Susan Cooper of CAP for her leadership and commitment to dental health. First 5 Commissioner Efren Carrillo will present the resolution at the celebration on June 29th. The celebration starts at 10:00 a.m. and will be held at the Santa Rosa WIC office located at 1450 Guerneville Road near Coddingtown Mall. To RSVP for the celebration, please call (707) 544-6911 ext. 1083.
"The key to a lifetime of healthy smiles is teaching parents of very young children good dental health behaviors," said Dr. Susan Cooper, CAP Director of Programs. "We couldn't have asked for better partners than our friends from First 5 and WIC. Due to their efforts, we were able to bring a much needed service to young families who wouldn't otherwise have been able to receive them."
The nine-member First 5 Sonoma County Commission was established through the California Children and Families First Act of 1998 and directed to promote, support, and improve the early development of children from the prenatal stage through five years of age. The Act established a tobacco tax which funds the work of this Commission.