A national program that’s already taken hold in several counties in New York recently arrived in Warren County through its department of social services. CarePortal is an online software that allows caseworkers to partner with community churches to help families meet immediate needs, such as toiletries, clothing and beds.

It's responsible for helping thousands of children stay out of foster care.

Adam Southerland, missions and ministry pastor, and his wife Hannah, foster and adoption ministry leader, were making a delivery that will change a family’s life.

Their church, New Hope Community Church, is part of the CarePortal program.

“Caring for the whole family, for vulnerable children and their families. And so Care Portal allows us to be a part of that process, not just those children who are in need of a family, either forever or a temporarily, but helping keep those children who have families that love them, to be able to keep them together,” Southerland said.

Here's how it works.

Caseworkers who use CarePortal enter a request into its system, and the request gets sent out to several local churches, streamlining the process of getting children’s needs met.

“If a social worker is putting it in the system, it is a felt need that the family has," Southerland said. "And so to be able to give that to them, you can almost see the sigh of relief. The OK, we may not have all the answers about what challenges are before us, but we know some of our felt needs are being met.”

Across the state, over 7,000 children have been served through the program and most of them have been kept out of foster care as a result. The ultimate goal — to have the program in every county in New York state.

The program also connects families to a support system.

“I think to do life alone is really lonely and sad, and I think a lot of times people struggle to find that community to get plugged in to different things,” said Hannah Southerland.