“The biggest poverty is a poverty of relationships,” Sue Baird (left) explains. Poverty is familiar as a concept: the homeless man sleeping under newspapers at the bus stop; or, the single mother frantically holding down three jobs. It’s more difficult to grasp what most often creates financial poverty: a life without the loving support of a family, or even of a community.
Maybe you can remember what it was like to be apart from God-- the lack of a sense of belonging and the void of deep insecurity. Spend a little time walking through that experience again, and relational poverty becomes clearer. Many kids in foster care are being supported by families desperate to save them from a similar relational poverty.
Right now, there are about 40 local churches involved in supporting the needs of families involved in the foster care system. That support may very well be the difference for a foster child to experience adoption into the family of God. Small contributions of congregations add up to life change for children in struggling families.
On December 3, 2015, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), CarePortal launched in Pima County with 19 churches in the network. Since then, local churches have been making a significant impact on child welfare. (See image below for current statistics.)
Now, 4Tucson is an Implementing Partner for CarePortal in Pima County. 4Tucson will actively build upon existing relationships with partner churches, and continue to establish new church partnerships, to connect them with CarePortal.
Sue Baird and Robin Blumenthal (left) play essential roles in this new relationship between 4Tucson and CarePortal. Sue Baird is the Pima County CarePortal Regional Manager. She works to facilitate training and support for churches, build collaboration within the church network, while also serving the agencies and ministry partners. Robin is the Pima County Pastoral Ambassador. She engages the hearts of pastors and churches to show them the need in Pima County’s foster care system and how their church can support vulnerable children in a variety of ways.
Partner churches who are connected to the CarePortal network receive an emailed request from DCS agents and respond to those requests if able. The needs range from physical needs, to relational needs. It’s more than addressing temporary crises. Adrien Lewis, CEO of CarePortal describes it this way, “UPS makes deliveries, the Church makes connections.”
Connecting vulnerable children and their families to a church family is CarePortal’s vision, and your church can be part of it.
Imagine the life transformation of a child who had only known insecurity, being welcomed into a loving family able to provide stability because of the church family supporting them. This is how local churches are the hope to create family stability in Tucson. By supporting these families, churches strengthen whole communities. As Robin says, “As the family goes, so goes the city.”
You can be a part of introducing them to God’s family. You can help them feel secure in our Father’s love and know peace with Him. And you can do this by contributing what you’re able to, using what you have today, even if it isn’t much, by connecting your church to CarePortal.
If your church isn’t connected, please contact Robin Blumenthal at email@example.com