EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A non-profit website called Care Portal that allows CPS workers to connect with local churches who may be able to help a family going through a difficult time, is seeking more churches to get involved.
“There is a stigma between CPS being that person who takes away children. And here is the opportunity for churches to really step up and say we’re the answer,” said Pastor Eric Hallback with The Rock Faith Center.
It all starts when a social worker is called out to investigate a family where children may not be in the best situation.
“It could be that the mom at this point just needs a crib. We’re going to leave the baby in the home, she is not an abusive parent,” said Maritza Hernandez. She is the CPS Faith-Based Specialist in El Paso.
If the need is something that can be requested social workers for Child Protective Services can submit the need through Care Portal.
“It could be a car seat, it could be a refrigerator, it could be shoes for a child,” said Hernandez. “There are some requests that are submitted for prayer.”
An email goes out to participating churches.
“There are people who have things in their garages they may have or they will go out and buy that thing,” said Hallback.
CPS said the social worker is responsible for picking up the item from the church or the church can choose to take the item to the home in need.
The Rock Faith Center is part of the program. Hallback said his church wants to avoid a child being separated from his family.
“If that need is not met, the school clothes, the baby sleeping in the bed with its mother without proper bedding, playpen or crib, that child could end up becoming a ward of the state,” he said. “And so our goal is to keep them with family.”
Churches make donations to the Care Portal to keep the non-profit website running.
There are more than 500 churches in El Paso County however, CPS said right now there are only 20 churches participating. Hernandez said 19 states are using Care Portal now.
If you want more information, you can call Hernandez at 915-309-3595 or email her at Maritza.Hernandez@dfps.state.tx.us