FORT LAUDERDALE — The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation is donating $90,000 to help fund the Kids in Distress of Broward and Palm Beach Counties and Nova Southeastern University Kid Dental Clinic. The money will allow Kids In Distress to provide 500 uninsured children with access to dental care during a two-year period.

“Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of Floridians and their communities,” Susan Towler, vice president of the foundation, said in a statement.

 “Through our support of the Kid Dental Clinic, we will reach even more families who don’t have access to these services. Dental care is a vital part of the development of our children and we are honored to be part of this incredible program with Kids In Distress,” Towler said.

The grant designates funds for uninsured children, so kids whose families cannot pay for dental services may have equal access to dental care.

The clinic is located on the Kids In Distress campus in Wilton Manors. It provides a comprehensive array of dental services, with the primary objective of improving access to care for children who are underinsured.

It is staffed with third- and fourth-year dental students and residents at Nova Southeastern University, supervised by faculty members. 

The clinic opened in February and, to date, has provided dental services to 886 children. For 95 percent of them, it was their first visit to a dental clinic, according to a statement from the clinic.

“According to the Children’s Services Council, approximately six percent of the 415,299 children from birth to 17 years old living in Broward County are underinsured,” Steve Palmer, chairman of the KID board of directors, said in the statement. “We are filling a significant unmet need with this grant by providing the necessary dental care for these children. We appreciate the support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation in our efforts to meet the needs of underserved children in our community.”

Dental visits at the clinic are open to all children who are underserved and include consultations, checkups, diagnostic services, preventative care, restorative care, and dental appliances, as well as oral health education.