SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — The Springfield City School District and The Nehemiah Foundation, a local faith-based non-profit, have collaborated to launch an online tool that aims to fulfill students’ needs outside of the classroom.
The tool, called CarePortal, has traditionally been used in Job and Family Services Departments. The SCSD is one of the first school districts to utilize CarePortal.
CarePortal relies on the assistance of local churches. When a school staff member identifies a student’s need that cannot be met, that staff member will refer the need to the SCSD Family Outreach team, who will then vet the need and input it into the CarePortal system. Churches within the system are alerted to the need and have the opportunity to respond to it.
During the pilot launch of CarePortal in the SCSD, over 40 children were served, which equated to approximately $8,000 in goods and services, according to a release.
Although CarePortal can be used for tangible needs such as beds or clothing, it has also provided services to families including transportation, immigration court assistance or car repair.
“Many of our local churches have the resources. They have the heart, the manpower and the passion to bless the most vulnerable in our community, but they often lack the inroads in making connections with them,” Nehemiah Foundation’s CarePortal Director Tami Carter said.
“We like to say that we are not a ‘glorified Amazon’ where we simply ‘drop and go.’ It’s important that we help that family feel known and supported in the process of helping meet a physical need.”
“One hundred percent of our requests were fulfilled during CarePortal’s pilot. That speaks volumes about the generosity of Springfield,” SCSD Federal Programs Director Dr. Pam Shay said.
“This portal allows us to create a community beyond the walls of the school building, especially for many of our families who are new to Springfield or are non-native English speakers. CarePortal connects them to resources and real people who want to see our community members and students succeed.”
CarePortal was piloted in the second semester of the 2021-2022 school year with eight SCSD buildings but will expand to all buildings for the upcoming school year.