First Early Childhood Screening Site of 2023 Was A Success

January 31, 2023

Stroudsburg, PA – Every child deserves a healthy start to life, and this foundation is key for a strong start once the child reaches kindergarten.

This is why Pocono Mountains United Way  offers the Healthy Start Early Childhood Screening Program,  with five different types of health screenings that can give parents the support they need for their children.

PMUW  kickstarted 2023  with a dental screening event that took play in mid-January at Precious Moments Christian Academy.

“A childcare-based dental health screening and referral program can have a tremendous impact on a community,” said Heather, the director at Precious Moments Christian Academy’s recent dental screening event. “Pocono Mountains United Way, through their Healthy Start Early Childhood Screening Program, provided free oral health screenings for the children attending Precious Moments Christian Academy. Some of the children have never seen a dentist and others were in need of further assessment and treatment.”

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so this focus on dental screenings will continue over the next month.

Interested child centers should reach out to Roxanne Powell to schedule an event at their location

“PMUW provides free screenings for children to determine their strengths and potential factors that may interfere with a child’s learning so they are kindergarten ready to learn,” said Powell. “Our screening events are typically held at daycare centers and community events. If your child attends a childcare facility, please contact them and ask they host a screening.”

To start the screening process, a trained professional does a preliminary screening for dental, vision, hearing, or other developmental growth issues. Based on the results of that screening, the professional may refer parents to have the child receive further examination. An example from a dental screening could mean referring the child to a dentist because a cavity needs to be filled.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, referrals were made in around nine percent of cases, but those numbers have nearly doubled. In 2019-20, there were 2,361 total screenings and 188 referrals – for a 7.96% referral rate. In 2020-21, there were 1,074 screenings with 101 referrals – a 9.4% referral rate. In 2021-22, there were 3,253 screenings with 543 referrals – for a 16.69% referral rate.

Roxanne Powell says parents have identified concerns to her about their child’s behavior and getting along with other children more frequently following COVID lockdowns. If there is a developmental reason to explain this, the screenings program can help spot early indicators and provide referrals for additional assistance.

If you are a care center is interested in hosting a screenings program, call Roxanne Powell at 570-517-3958.