It’s estimated that over 50 percent of injuries from child abuse are on the head and neck. That means warning signs of abuse are front and center for dentists, dental hygienists, and other oral health professionals who see patients twice annually. This sector of health professionals have unique opportunities to ask important questions, provide key information, and observe both parents and children for warning signs of abuse and neglect.
Beginning in 2019, the Kosair Charities Face It Movement partnered with Delta Dental of Kentucky to build awareness, educate, and equip Kentucky’s dental community with tools and resources to recognize and report signs of child abuse and neglect.
This initiative kicked off with a short survey during Summer 2019, engaging professionals across the state to determine their baseline knowledge of child abuse and neglect recognition and reporting. Analysis of survey results indicated that 45 percent of respondents do not feel very or moderately confident in their ability to report suspected child abuse/neglect.
With support from Delta Dental of Kentucky, the Face It Movement developed two new educational videos as a resource for oral health professionals to fulfill their role as a mandated reporter of child abuse and neglect and help keep kids safe in their communities.
In the first video, Dr. Laura Hancock Jones, a dentist from Western Kentucky, explains the TEN-4 Bruising Rule and discusses the critical role oral health professionals play in recognizing and reporting signs of child abuse and neglect. In the second video, Jennifer Hasch, a dental hygienist from Louisville, emphasizes the importance of keeping kids safe in their community, whether you practice in the office, a school or community setting.
Keeping kids safe is an adult responsibility. If you notice abnormal, unexplainable bruising on a young child, make a report to Child Protective Services at 1-877-KYSAFE1.