Sharing news about CDHP’s future and celebrating our history of success

By: Meg Booth

This column was written by Meg Booth, CDHP executive director.

As leader of the Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP), I have some news to share about our future. After extensive deliberation, CDHP will be moving our oral health policy and advocacy materials to a leading national consumer voice on health care, Community Catalyst. In doing so, we are preparing to end operations as an independent nonprofit by the end of the year. We will close our doors on December 31, 2019. Luckily, all our resources — old and new — will be transferred to our longtime national partner.

After years of reviewing our work and talking with many of you, we have determined that it is time to integrate children’s oral health policy and advocacy into a broader mission-focused organization.

We accomplished what we set out to do — and more.

Twenty-two years ago CDHP was created as a “project” to be the voice of children who needed dental coverage. It was deliberately named a project because we knew securing dental coverage for children was a solvable problem. While it took a little longer than anticipated, we indeed achieved this goal. In fact, CDHP not only expanded coverage by getting a guaranteed dental benefit in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but we also went further. Our efforts helped secure oral health coverage for children in the Affordable Care Act. Because of CDHP, 90% of children now have some form of dental coverage, opening the door to kids getting the care they need to grow up healthy. I call that success!

Strong partnerships were key to our success and our future.

Deep and trusted partnerships have been central to CDHP’s success over the years. We have leaned on many of our partners for support and expertise, and they have done the same with us. By transferring our work to Community Catalyst — a trusted partner that shares our values — our legacy of progress will continue to make a difference in the lives of children and families.

"It’s critical to make space for our partners to integrate oral health into broader agendas, so dental disease doesn’t hold any family back from achieving their dreams."

We at CDHP believe it’s critical to make space for our partners to integrate oral health into broader agendas, so dental disease doesn’t hold any family back from achieving their dreams. Addressing the oral health of a whole family includes, but must go beyond, the dental care system. As we look forward to shifting CDHP’s work to Community Catalyst, we will be encouraging other partners to take up the baton on broad systems-change to help families achieve good oral health and economic stability. We will be releasing new research that we hope will launch the next generation of oral health advocacy for families and will be available for all to use. The greatest legacy CDHP could leave would be for each of our partners to include oral health in their portfolio of work.

There is more work to be done. But for now, let’s celebrate.

This is a promising time for oral health, with more oral health policy expertise and advocates than ever before. There is always more that can be done and CDHP has never been low on energy to support families. However, as we shift our work into its next phase, this is also a time for celebrating. We’re proud of the progress we have made for kids’ and families’ health and wellbeing over the past two decades — from improving children’s dental coverage to making in-roads in expanding oral health access in pregnancy. We also celebrate our supporters like you, who have been critical players in our innovation and success.

Our next steps.

CDHP is fortunate to have the time to transition our work on the issues we care about to our longtime partners at Community Catalyst. You can call or email CDHP until the end of November. And, please begin to show your support for Community Catalyst’s expanding leadership and commitment to oral health. Keep your eye out for our new research to build on, and know that our extensive resources will remain available to you to continue creating positive change for kids, families and communities.

You can find the press release announcing our news online here. Our website also has a resource answering some frequently asked questions about CDHP’s future, which may continue to be updated.

Thank you to all of our partners, funders, staff, and board directors for 22 years of being the voice for children’s oral health.

To learn more about CDHP's future, visit

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Did you know?

75% }
of American Indian/Alaskan Native children have experienced caries by age 5.
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