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Arizona program aims to address family needs, keep kids out of foster care

(Facebook/CarePortal)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Child Safety has teamed up with an online faith-based program to help keep families in low-income neighborhoods together and out of welfare.

The online program is called CarePortal, and it connects DCS to local churches and the surrounding faith community when it is alerted to a family in need.

For example, if a family or a child in foster care needs anything, from clothing to car seats to extermination services, the family can submit their request through CarePortal, which will then contact the local church and community and give them the opportunity to respond.

The program, which is now nationwide, launched in Arizona in December 2015, starting in Pima County before expanding to Maricopa County in February 2017. Across the state, 55 churches have helped nearly 500 families, impacting nearly 1,300 Arizona children.

Today, the partnership includes DCS, the Governor’s Office Of Youth, Faith And Family and the Council on Child Safety and Family Empowerment.

Debbie Moak with the Governor’s Office Of Youth, Faith And Family said the program aims to keep low-income families together by addressing their needs accurately and quickly and avoid taking their children into foster care.

“A case worker [can come] into the home and see that the kids don’t have beds or food, or there might be bedbugs,” Moak said. “[But] when those basic needs are met, families get to stay together.

“We don’t want to see them come into the system, as that can be more traumatizing for the kids and for the family,” she added.

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