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Perry children not participating in health screenings

There are many children in Perry County who have undetected medical problems, said Frances Ford of the non-profit Sowing Seeds of Hope agency.

Children are not participating in public school health screenings, she told the Perry County Commission Tuesday. Among those who do participate, there are numerous health problems. "We have a large number of children who are overweight," Ford said. "We do have some who have hypertension.

It is possible the children are not taking permission slips home to parents, she said, "but we’re not getting the participation from the children." There was less participation in the county seat of Marion than in Uniontown, Ford said.

Children are not going to the doctor, and the school screenings are often the only way to detect a problem.

During the school screenings, the students are checked for hearing, vision, blood pressure and much more.

The medical screenings will be offered again in January, she said.

In a related matter, the AllKids state medical insurance program is accepting applications but not filling those applications until more funding comes available, she said. Children up to age 19 are eligible. The annual premium is $50.

The Alabama Child Caring Foundation may be able to help children who cannot currently get AllKids coverage, Ford said.

Ford is also concerned about state budget cuts for fiscal year 2005 and the possibility that certain health departments could close. Some 30 to 40 health departments could close, said county attorney and state senator Hank Sanders. "That is a key issue in the upcoming budget that we are very concerned about," he said.

In other action from Tuesday’s meeting, the commission will review county polling places. Any change would have to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

Some of the polling places are in unsafe buildings, said commissioner Albert Turner Jr.