5.1 Effective Program Operations

Targeting Populations

Targeting Schools

The majority of children in Maryland participating in the school-based dental sealant program attend Title I schools and are eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

Maryland has two categories of Title I schools related to the NSLP:

  • Targeted Assistance Programs—35 percent or more of students eligible for the NSLP. This category is targeted primarily to children who are identified as having the greatest need. All school programs with children at high risk start out as Targeted Assistance programs.
  • Schoolwide Programs—40 percent or more of students eligible for the NSLP. This category targets all children in these schools.10

Chart showing percentage of untreated caries at higher riskOOH-funded school-based dental sealant programs are encouraged to target Title I schools.11 All 26 local school systems in Maryland receive Title I funds, which are distributed within school districts among schools in which a high percentage of students are living in poverty. The purpose of the funds is to enable schools to provide additional academic support and learning opportunities to help children with low academic achievement levels master curricula and meet state standards in core academic subjects.10 Throughout the 2013–2014 school year, over 75 percent of Maryland’s Title I public elementary schools were served by dental sealant programs operated by local health departments, federally qualified health centers, or mobile units.12

During the 2013–2014 school year, almost 384,000 children attending public schools in Maryland were enrolled in the NSLP in over 1,400 schools in the state.10 Maryland will continue to use the NSLP as a primary target to determine a child’s eligibility to participate in an OOH-funded school-based dental sealant program. A child is automatically considered to be at high risk for dental caries and should receive services from the sealant program if he or she meets any of the following criteria:11

  • A member of the child’s household is receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly call the Food Stamp Program), the Food Distribution Program, or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Children Program
  • The child is enrolled in Head Start
  • The child’s parent is a migrant worker
  • The child is homeless
  • The child is a runaway who is receiving assistance under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
  • The child is living in a household eligible for the NSLP
  • The child is covered by Medicaid dental coverage
  • The child has no private dental insurance coverage
  • The child has had dental caries experience in the past 12 months
  • The child has received no treatment for dental caries in the past 12 months

(Throughout these modules, "parents" refers to a child’s parents, guardians, or other caregivers.)