'First 5 California' to spend $10 million for children's dental care
San Francisco Chronicle
May 5, 2004
(05-05) 21:45 PDT LOS ANGELES (AP) --
children and families commission unveiled a $10 million statewide
initiative Wednesday to improve dental care for children 5 years old and
California, also known as the California Children and Families
Commission, hopes to assist the one-in-seven preschoolers it says suffer
from tooth decay through programs that educate parents, screen children
for oral health problems and make dental referrals.
shame that the most prevalent disease of early childhood is almost
entirely preventable," filmmaker Rob Reiner, the commission's chairman,
said in a statement.
initiative's aim is to address these issues when our youngest children
need it most -- before the problems develop," he said.
According to the commission, dental decay afflicts more than half of California's elementary school kids while a survey shows that more than half of children ages 2 to 5 have never visited a dentist.
initiative will help to achieve First 5's goal of ensuring that children
enter school healthy and learning," said Jane Henderson, First 5
California's executive director.
commission was established by Proposition 10, the 1998 ballot measure
that imposed a 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax to fund early education
and health care for young children.
program will seek to help children in rural communities, low-income
neighborhoods and other areas where dental care is limited.
commission also will work with the California Dental Association
Foundation and the Dental Health Foundation to ensure dental providers
have the latest information on oral health care problems affecting young