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The grandparent support group provides resources to men and women raising their grandchildren.


Finding new ways to parent

I was a teen mom, so I know the struggles, and it is so gratifying to be a social worker here at THEARC (home of Children's Health Fund's DC project) and help families find their way.  We see so many grandparents becoming parents again, this time to the children of their children.  If a parent is incarcerated, has a substance abuse problem, or other personal crisis, it’s so often the grandparent who steps in. They have to deal with so many legal and financial issues of custody, housing and insurance. Today we had our monthly support group for grandparents, and I love to see them draw strength from one another. 

Building trust first

He looked terrified when he came on board the mobile dental clinic this morning.  And I tried not to react when I saw how many cavities he has.  I don’t think he had ever been to a dentist. So I don’t rush. It is essential to build a relationship based on kindness and trust. His mom thought she had been giving him something healthy, buying juice instead of soda. But too much juice can also damage teeth. So we took some time to talk about prevention and how I am going to fix his cavities, one by one, over several visits.  They know we’ll be coming back to this neighborhood on a regular schedule.

Washington, D.C.

Called DC’s “forgotten river,” the Anacostia flows from Maryland’s Prince George County into the Potomac basin, and it borders Washington, D.C.’s most poverty-stricken neighborhood. More than 20 years ago, Children’s Health Fund established a program here, and today it provides medical and dental care as part of a thriving and robust fixed-site pediatric health center dedicated to improving the health of the area’s children. 


Isolated from the economic, educational, cultural and medical infrastructure of the nation’s capital across the river, the children and youth of Anacostia experience a high degree of socioeconomic and environmental risk factors that often give rise to developmental delays and long-term health problems. These factors include high incidences of infant mortality, infant morbidity, teenage pregnancy, low birth weights, prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol and child abuse and neglect.

The mobile clinic provides comprehensive primary care at sites situated near public housing that are within walking distance of schools. Additionally, to address the increasingly unmet dental needs of its patients, the program provides full dental services via a mobile dental unit.  


Because the families in the community have so many needs, the health care team provides more than typical primary care.  “Here at the clinic, we connect patients from our mobile clinics with case workers, support groups, nutrition and fitness opportunities, and health education,” says Dr. Marcee White, who was just beginning her residency with a rotation on the mobile clinic when Katrina struck.  Seeing the mobile team pack up and head to New Orleans to respond to the disaster, she remembers thinking, “These are the kind of people I want to work with.” 

Home Institution/Affiliation 
Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Available services 
  • Well child care;
  • School physicals;
  • Same-day sick-appointments;
  • Immunizations;
  • Complete EPSDT services;
  • Lead and Tuberculosis screening;
  • Full laboratory services;
  • On-call 24 hours/7 days a week;
  • Chronic illness management;
  • Subspecialty services;
  • Community health & parent education projects;
  • Grandparent support group;
  • Community outreach and referrals;
  • Developmental assessments
  • Nutrition/Audiology services;
  • Case management;
  • Family crisis management;
  • Comprehensive dental services; and
  • Cognitive/Behavioral/Psychological assessment;
Special initiatives 
Program Fact sheet