The child welfare system is complex and diverse, as are the ways that you can engage and serve within it. CarePortal is a tool designed to help bridge the gap between the children and families in crisis and people who want to help.
When a church first commits to responding to CarePortal requests from child welfare employees, we use an visual called The Grid to explain the spectrum of needs you and your church can help meet. (Watch the short video below to learn more about The Grid.)
If you are about to meet your first need through CarePortal, the odds are very high that it falls into Tier 1: Provide resources to stabilize the environment of children and their caregivers.
Common Tier 1 requests include beds, clothing, school supplies, bus passes and car seats. (Learn why beds are the #1 item requested through CarePortal.) While meeting material needs is essential, the opportunity of Tier 1 is to go deeper than a transaction. We experience hope by moving beyond benevolence to real connection. There are some basic but important best practices when meeting a Tier 1 need. Watch this short video or read on below to learn more:
Bring someone with you
If you are going to someone’s home, never go alone. Jesus sent his disciples out two-by-two for many reasons. It is wise to be above reproach and protect the people you are helping.
Avoid assuming anything based on what you observe or the little you know. There is always more to the story– we don’t know the circumstances that led a person to the crisis they are in. You’re there to show love and compassion.
Call the caseworker
If you have any questions, concerns or follow up, call the caseworker. As the connection point to the family, they can give you tremendous insight.
Encouraging words have power. Look around and find the strength you see in the people you meet. Tell them. Lift their spirits. Be a light in a dark time for them.
Engage with additional needs
When you meet the first need, you may find other things to help with. Rather than giving cash, you should buy physical items. Engaging in the process of meeting specific needs allows you to participate alongside the family.