“The COVID-19 crisis is exploiting the pre-existing conditions of poverty and fatherlessness that ravage our most vulnerable children. Before the crisis, the foster care system was Ground Zero in the battle for the heart of our nation – and the heart of the Church.”
Joe Knittig, CEO of CarePortal
If you’re not familiar with CarePortal, think of us as the “Uber” of Care. In essence both Uber and CarePortal are connectivity platforms, except instead of connecting drivers with people who need rides, we connect vulnerable children and their families with faith communities so the latter can care for and support the former. Every time a need is met via CarePortal there’s a transaction that often leads to a transformation for all parties involved. The power of caring and community are immeasurable when released.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded we quickly learned that it hit individuals and communities with pre-existing conditions much harder than others. This has been true of both pre-existing medical and socio-economic conditions. Through our partnership with the Department of Child Safety (DCS) we’ve seen how the virus and corresponding economic shutdown created a disproportionate surge of needs within low-income, often single-parent, families who were already fighting to preserve the unity of their families.
For example, a mother in Mesa hasn’t been able to work because she has many medical issues and she wasn’t receiving any financial benefits other than Survivor Benefits due her children’s father passing away. With schools closed, her three children were struggling to complete school work from home because they didn’t have a computer to use for virtual classes and teacher meetings. To help preserve the unity of the family a DCS caseworker put the need for a computer into CarePortal. Within a couple days a church, located just a few miles from the motel this family was living in, stepped-up to give them a laptop and offer vital follow up care.
Caseworkers and faith communities are responding to the needs of families like this all over the state. Material, economic and housing needs are continuing to surge. There is significant concern that the number of kids being removed from their homes could swell to record numbers as the stresses of fear, anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity have created a breeding ground for child neglect and abuse. This is why Governor Ducey has publicly called for the faith community to rise up and provide a counter-surge of care through CarePortal and other organizations that seek to strengthen biological families.
Here’s the good news, we have what it takes to face this crisis head on! Because we are individuals of faith, we carry the Good News that quells fear and anxiety. Because we are the Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can be the community that is the antidote for loneliness, insecurity, and civil unrest. Because Christ is risen, active, all powerful, and indwelling in us, we are not bound by our own shortcomings and limits – for it’s in our weakness and love for others that His power is revealed.
No child should grow up without their parents. Together we can prevent the breakup of families. Together we can turn the tide!
If you would like to make an impact please visit our CarePortal website, there you can choose to serve children in general, or COVID needs specifically.
Regional Manager for Maricopa Co.