Healthy Learners Midlands serves all child development, elementary and middle schools in Richland School Districts One and Two and Lexington School Districts Two and Four. This service area includes 91 schools across a large geographic area of the Midlands. Students with identified health needs and little or no means of funding, are referred to Healthy Learners by their school nurse. Transportation to and from school to appointments is a unique and vital link to the success of the Healthy Learners program.
An overview of the needs of children in both Richland and Lexington Counties outlines several important facts. The Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) program reports that 9.2% of residents under the age of 18 in Lexington County and 12% of residents under the age of 18 in Richland County are uninsured. According to the State Department of Education’s website the 2008 free and reduced lunch percentages for the four Healthy Learners Midlands districts are as follows: Richland One 62.2%, Richland Two 39.18%, Lexington Two 55.59% and Lexington Four 68.15%. The 2008 Kid’s Count data reports that 76.4% of parents with children ages 6-17 years old were in the labor force in Richland County, however 16.5% of children in the same age range live in poverty. In Lexington County, 74.6% of parents with children ages 6-17 years old were in the labor force with 9.9% of children in the same age range living in poverty. Children in single parent families made up 59.5% of all the children living in poverty in Richland County and made up 60.7% of all the children living in poverty in Lexington County. Also according to Kid’s Count data, 37.9% of students in Richland County and 31.5% of students in Lexington County did not graduate from school.
Families with children who are without resources are often unable to meet the financial obligations of health care and the lack of transportation makes health care access even more difficult. In the spirit of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Healthy Learners is devoted to removing children’s health barriers to learning with love and compassion for the children of Richland and Lexington Counties, by providing access to health care.
For more information about Healthy Learners Midlands call Jennifer Cooke, Program Manager at (803) 252-0133, ext. 1 or email: Jennifer.Cooke@healthylearners.com.
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