Plea issued for dental care for foster children

A Detroit area foster children’s charity has issued a call for volunteer orthodontists to work with area children and teens in foster care, citing an “urgent” backlogged need.

“As of today, we have nine requests for orthodontic care in our area — and one of the children has been waiting more than a year for services,” said Lorraine Weber, the executive director of For The Seventh Generation. “In addition, we always have an ongoing need for orthodontists to provide these services.”

Weber stressed that each volunteer orthodontist is asked to provide services to just one foster child or teen for one year.

“But in that year,” Weber added, “the professionals who come forward literally change the lives of the child or teen they work with — a change that lasts throughout that young person’s life.”

As evidence, Weber cited the case of Jasmine Charlton, who first came to the agency during its founding by the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Foundation in 2005.

Due to the volunteer efforts of Dr. Maria Pinzon, Weber said Jasmine, who was 12 at the time, “found an inner sense of confidence she’d never had before — and now, she’s a college graduate who plans to go on to law school.”

While Michigan’s Department of Human Services provides basic dental services through Medicaid, Weber said children in foster care who need more extensive dental services like braces have few options.

“Finding orthodontic care for ‘our’ kids is one of the larger challenges we face as an organization,” she said.

For The Seventh Generation (FTSG) was founded and is supported by the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation in cooperation with the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Human Services.

The organization matches donations of goods and services with metro Detroit-area foster children, foster families and young adults aging out of the foster care system.

FTSG served more than 500 children through its various programs in 2013.