Cantrell Mosley, left, state Child Protective Services Sandoval County office manager, and Dan Burge, LifeMissions pastor at Life.Church Rio Rancho, appear on stage Sept. 25 to celebrate the local launch of Care Portal. Courtesy photo.

A new email-based system is connecting Sandoval County groups and individuals with local children and families who need help.
Life.Church in Rio Rancho has taken the lead in connecting the state Children, Youth and Families Department Child Protective Services office in Sandoval County with Care Portal. CYFD employees at the office notify individuals and groups connected with Care Portal about the needs of families they encounter, and volunteers can step up as they’re able.
“I think this is a way for us to reach the community and them to help us,” said Sandoval County Child Protective Services office manager Cantrell Mosley.
Life.Church LifeMissions Pastor Dan Burge said five local churches connected to Care Portal in August, with another three just getting started. He called the system a “pathway for kids and families to have support,” including from people who wanted to help in the community but didn’t know how.
“It’s been a really big collaborative effort to get it launched,” he said.
Sandoval County Commissioner Michael Meek used about $7,000 in his commissioner discretionary funds for the first year’s subscription to Care Portal. He said he wanted to help “the kids who need it, who don’t have anywhere else to go.”
Burge said volunteers have supported 20 Sandoval County children since Care Portal started in August.
Leading up to the first local request, a girl in the CYFD system had been placed in the care of her aunt, who had four other children.
When the aunt suddenly died, the grandparents agreed to take the children, but didn’t have beds for them. The kids couldn’t take beds from their previous home because of a bedbug problem.
Mosley said her office placed a request and, within two days, had donations of five beds with mattresses and bedding. Care Portal and the people who helped through it kept the children from having to sleep on the floor or move in with strangers, she said.
Sandoval County is the first in New Mexico to use Care Portal, Burge said, although neighboring states have used it for quite some time. Nonprofits, businesses and individuals can all join.
“The (smart-phone) app is really user friendly, but all they need is an email address to be able to utilize it to respond,” Burge said.
People can donate money, supplies, time or expertise. He said Care Portal also builds relationships, so people who are struggling know they’re not alone.
“That’s really an important part of how Care Portal helps restore lives,” Burge said.
Only Child Protective Services agents submit requests, which are approved by supervisors before being sent out to participants. Mosley said requests must serve certain purposes, including allowing children to stay out of foster care, reunifying families and strengthening family bonds.
“All of Sandoval County, we’ve been able to use it for,” she said, explaining families from Cuba to Peña Blanca to Corrales and Rio Rancho have received help.
Burge said a lot of people want to help, and CYFD wants the help.
“Just to see people step up and respond to that has been really inspiring,” he said.
For more information or to help through Care Portal, contact Burge through Life.Church at 226-1010.