News Release

UDM Dental and DHS team up to provide orthodontic care for foster children

As of this month, 31 children and teens who are permanent wards of Michigan's foster care system received the gift of a lifetime: screening for orthodontic treatments that may well change their lives.

The new program is a partnership between faculty and students in the Postgraduate Orthodontics department at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and the Detroit Department of Human Services facilitated by For The Seventh Generation, an organization that matches donations of goods and services with foster children, foster families, and young adults aging out of the foster care system. Seventh Generation is a project of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation in cooperation with the 3rd Judicial Circuit of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Human Services.

The children, ranging in age from seven – eighteen, are the first in what is projected to be a group of fifty initially served by what will be an ongoing program serving permanent wards of the court living in Wayne County. Orthodontic care takes approximately two years.

“In the past, orthodontic services were not available to this group of deserving individuals,” said Dr. Richard Kulbersh, chairman and program director of orthodontics at UDM. The program doesn't stop at treatment. In an effort to provide useful data to concerned agencies and care providers, research will also be conducted to determine the outcome and benefits of receiving this care,” Kulbersh explained. “It is hoped that over the course of treatment a positive outcome will be developed both from a personal, inter-personal and scientific perspective.”

“Finding orthodontic care for 'our' kids is one of the larger challenges we face as an organization,” said Lorraine Weber, executive director of For The Seventh Generation. “It's a huge relief to have this program in place for permanent wards of the court, and we're grateful to the University and the Department of Human Services for stepping forward and making this happen.

“Making it possible for a child to smile without embarrassment – perhaps for the first time in that child's life – makes a huge difference, particularly in the case of young people who have already faced the kinds of hardship that lead to being placed in our foster care system, she added.”

Release date: April 19, 2013

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The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan’s largest private Catholic University, with more than 100 academic majors and programs. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy, the University has campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.

UDM is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and the largest of 17 Mercy institutions of higher education in the United States. For the 13th consecutive year, University of Detroit Mercy is listed in the top tier of Midwest universities in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges."