Recruiting federal agencies who work with low-income families, Vice President Al Gore hopes to sign up some of the millions of uninsured children who are eligible for health coverage but may not know it.

Gore said the effort would reach children in the school lunch program, families in public housing and parents using tax credits as the government tries to find children who qualify for Medicaid and for state insurance programs aimed at the working poor.There are an estimated 3 million children who are eligible for Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor, but are not enrolled. The new children's health program is just starting to sign up kids whose family incomes are a bit higher.

Surrounded by bright blue vans touring the country and providing pediatric care, Gore said many families don't realize their children qualify for health insurance.

"Now, of course, we face perhaps an even tougher challenge: actually finding and enrolling the hardest to reach children," he said.

The Agriculture Department said it would encourage states to use the school lunch program - which serves 15 million pupils - to sign up uninsured children. The Housing and Urban Development Department plans to enlist housing authority workers and others to spread the word.

Treasury Department employees who focus on low-income programs, such as the earned income tax credit, will be asked to help enroll children as well.

"This is an example of how we can use limited federal resources more creatively," Gore said.

Some 11 million children have no health insurance and almost as many have inadequate plans or live in places without enough doctors, said Irwin Redlener, president of the Children's Health Fund.