|Dentists Serve on Front Line of Combating Child Abuse and Neglect|
PARSIPPANY, NJ (March 29, 2004) – To protect the health of children, dentists are doing more than telling them to brush their teeth.
With National Child Abuse Prevention Month approaching in April, dental industry groups, including state dental associations and Delta Dental Plan of New Jersey, have renewed their commitment to encourage dentists to identify and report signs of child abuse and neglect.
Dr. Scott Navarro, dental director, Delta Dental Plan of New Jersey said, "Because a majority of the physical trauma to children occurs in the face and neck area, dentists are ideally positioned to detect possible abuse."
According to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, an estimated 903,000 children were victims of maltreatment in 2001. More than half (57 percent) of the cases investigated or assessed by state child protective services agencies were reported by professionals, including law enforcement, teachers and members of the medical community.
The largest national effort among dental professionals to increase awareness of child abuse and neglect is the P.A.N.D.A. (Prevent Abuse and Neglect through Dental Awareness) Coalition. A public-private partnership comprised of state dental associations, Delta Dental Plans Association, affiliated Delta Dental Plans and other organizations, P.A.N.D.A. is committed to educating dental professionals on how to recognize and report suspected cases of child abuse.
"P.A.N.D.A. provides dentists with detailed training on the physical and behavioral indicators of child abuse and neglect. The organization also provides resources to guide them through procedures for reporting suspected abuse, and offers referral resources for families to help prevent abuse and neglect," said Lawrence A. Dobrin, D.M.D., a forensic dentist with a practice in Roselle Park and a spokesperson for the P.A.N.D.A. Coalition.
Dobrin noted the guidance dentists receive under P.A.N.D.A. builds on state mandates that dentists report suspected abuse, and reflects the commitment dentists have to promote the overall health and well-being of children.
"We want to work within our communities to protect children and assist their families in a way that promotes safe, supportive environments for everyone," Dobrin said.
P.A.N.D.A. presentations are approved for up to three continuing education credit hours, depending on the length of the session. To schedule a presentation, or for more information about the P.A.N.D.A. program, call 973-944-4555.
Delta Dental established the Delta Dental Plan of New Jersey Foundation in 1986. Its mission includes promoting and assisting educational projects devoted to the enhancement of dental health, research programs designed to increase public awareness of the general benefits of good health, and to improve dental health through the science of dentistry. Each year, the Delta Dental Foundation provides financial support to various organizations throughout the state.
Delta Dental Plan of New Jersey, Inc., is New Jersey’s and Connecticut's leading dental benefits carrier, providing coverage to more than one million people through contracts with employers in New Jersey and Connecticut. The Delta Dental Plan system is a national network of independently operated, not-for-profit dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs for employee groups throughout the country. For more information visit us on the Web at www.deltadentalnj.com.
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by New Jersey Brasil.com