This article answers the most commonly asked questions we receive from Community Responders and Community Champion Leaders regarding CarePortal.
Current or Potential Community Responders & Community Champions
This Article Answers:
1. Who are Community Responders?
Community Responders are individuals who have the ability to respond to requests on the CarePortal platform and who are:
- Not approved members of a church's response team, or
- Approved response team members but are not responding to a request that is local to their church (CarePortal network leaders define the distance that makes a church "local" to a family)
Responses from these Community Responders are sent to Connecting Churches that are local to the family. These churches have been trained and approved by local experts to take the lead on arranging the direct engagement of the family with the resources offered by the Community Responder.
2. What are Community Champions?
Community Champions is a way for organizations (businesses, universities, teams, and even families) to create and manage their own CarePortal account, including many of the features offered to churches like response team management, a branded, public landing page, and more. Responses from Community Champion leaders and their individual responders are treated the same way as responses from Community Responders.
3. Who does the CarePortal network serve?
CarePortal serves any child in crisis. Jesus cast the widest net of love, tearing down cultural biases and promoting radical, personal generosity and concern for those in need. With that example, CarePortal brings together diverse constituents – government agencies, churches, businesses, schools, and other ministries – to support children and families in crisis regardless of race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, political leanings, etc. If we find any of our partners are discriminating against the children and families they meant to unconditionally serve, they will be removed from the network.
4. Where do requests come from?
Each request is identified by a child serving professional as part of a case management agency. These agencies are carefully selected by local CarePortal experts to share high impact opportunities to serve families and children in crisis. Examples of requesting agencies could include government child welfare agencies, crisis pregnancy centers and other non-profit organizations, and even schools.
With the family's approval, the child serving professional enters the request into the system, which requires at least one more step of additional approval by a leader within their agency. Only with that approval does a request become available for responses from churches and community responders.
5. Why does CarePortal always put the local Church at the point of care?
CarePortal was created to empower the local Church to serve local families and kids in crisis. We believe this is a scriptural mandate from the Bible and that the Church is uniquely called to love our neighbors and serve as representatives of how Jesus gave Himself on the cross to rescue us when we were powerless and vulnerable ourselves. This representation is most similar to spaces where families and children are in crisis because God desires us to see Him as a Father to the fatherless.
6. How long do requests stay open for a response?
It varies by the level of urgency established when a request is approved by a local requesting agency. It is ultimately up to the caseworker to close the request when the need is met or no longer relevant.
7. What happens if a request is not fulfilled or a church does not respond?
It is possible that no one can meet the need. This is why CarePortal always advises the Child Welfare Worker or Requesting Partner to continue looking into other forms of community support, even after they've submitted a CarePortal request.
8. Is there some kind of scam prevention?
Only verified e-mail addresses connected to our partner agencies have access to submit a request. They must select their name from a dropdown menu (or add it with an approved address). Additionally, once a request is submitted, another leader at the agency must approve it before it is opened and available for responses from church and community responders.
9. Is CarePortal secure?
Yes. CarePortal is securely hosted using Amazon Web Services. The web server that hosts the CarePortal code is protected from the public Internet by a load balancer and standard firewall. Administrative access to servers and data is limited to specific IPs over an encrypted connection utilizing public key authentication. The database that stores all requests and user data is automatically encrypted and replicated across multiple availability zones to keep the data secure and backed up in real time. All user access to the site is forced to use encrypted SSL connections to keep data private in transit.
10. Who follows up to make sure the request is fulfilled?
CarePortal is intended to open lines of communication. The outcomes are up to trained and approved church ministry leaders to follow up with responders and the caseworkers to respond back in a timely fashion. However, we do have local experts available to assist the church in getting as many needs met as possible.
11. What type of needs can requests be made for?
Each request submitted by agencies for goods and services must fit one of these purpose statements to help accomplish a case plan goal for children and families in crisis:
- Help Make a Foster Care or Kinship Placement
- Help Make an Adoptive Placement
- Help Preserve a Foster Care or Kinship Placement
- Help Preserve an Adoptive Placement
- Help Prevent a Child from Entering Foster Care
- Help Reunify a Bio Family
- Help Strengthen a Bio Family
- Help Support a Youth Aging Out
- Help Improve a Child’s Well-Being
- Help Reintegrate a Survivor of Human Trafficking
- Support an Expecting Mom and Her Unborn Baby
- Prayer Request
Additional types of requests can be submitted by agencies that go into relational or family placement needs, but responders for these requests are required to have a background check and approval directly from requesting agencies as representatives of a local church.
12. Is CarePortal specifically for Christian churches?
At its core, CarePortal is a local church empowerment platform: it exists to mobilize Bible-believing Christian churches to care for vulnerable children and families in their own communities, stimulating life-changing relational connections in the process. The example and teachings of Jesus fuel everything we do. At the same time, CarePortal also brings together diverse constituents – government agencies, businesses, schools, and other faith-based ministries – to accomplish a common mission of caring for children together. There is a place at the table for everyone.
13. How Does CarePortal Define a Local Church?
A “local church” for CarePortal purposes is a local fellowship of believers living in community, centered on Jesus as Lord and the Bible as the Word of God, committed to the ordinances, worship, and service together as a body, with spiritual and behavioral accountability to the leadership authority(ies) of the local fellowship, whether pastor(s), priest(s), elder(s), or other overseer(s).
14. Why Are Some Requests Fundable and Others Aren't?
In order for the CarePortal platform to allow a community responder or champion to offer funding toward items on a specific open request they choose, there must be a specially-trained local church near the family that has a CarePortal Card. This is how donated money can be transferred directly to the local leaders who will purchase or provide the needed items and/or services to the family, and in a way that allows CarePortal to ensure appropriate accountability.