Lutheran Services in America Announces Family Stabilization Initiative

Three-year Project Will Improve Outcomes for Children and Families, Close Racial Disparities
Monday, August 9, 2021

WASHINGTON— Lutheran Services in America, the health and human services organization that draws on the power of over 300 Lutheran social ministries, has launched the Family Stabilization Initiative, a three-year project geared to finding better ways to strengthen families and prevent children from entering into child welfare systems.

Led by Lutheran Services in America together with four of its network members, the initiative involves 580 families across four states and aims to address the disproportionate number of children of color separated from their families through out-of-home placements. Funded by a $4.25 million grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, the initiative underscores Lutheran Services in America’s longstanding focus on strengthening families.

Participating social ministry organizations include AK Child & Family (Alaska), Lutheran Community Services Northwest (Washington), Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, and St. John’s United (Montana). The three-year initiative will enable the organizations to expand into new communities, provide integrated services, and implement evidence-based models to strengthen families and improve equitable outcomes for children and youth.

“We expect the Family Stabilization Initiative to show how to close unacceptable gaps in outcomes so that children are not placed in foster care,” said Charlotte Haberaecker, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America. “It represents a fresh approach to a significant challenge facing our nation’s child welfare system.”

Approximately one-third of Lutheran Services in America members serve children, youth, and families. The services they provide include foster care as well as behavioral health, education, residential, and community-based services.

The Family Stabilization Initiative is part of the Lutheran Services in America Results Innovation Lab, which is working to improve equitable outcomes for 20,000 children and their families by 2024. Through the Lab, Lutheran Services in America innovates approaches that strengthen families in crisis and ensures that young people are safe and connected to families, schools, jobs and communities. As part of its mission, the Lab places special emphasis on using data to illuminate and redress the underlying inequities that adversely affect children and families of color.

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About Lutheran Services in America
Recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes as one of the nation’s largest nonprofits, the Lutheran Services in America network operates with more than $22 billion in annual revenue and over 250,000 member employees. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Lutheran Services in America leads national programs to advance policies, change mindsets, and innovate solutions for all Americans. To learn more, visit www.lutheranservices.org.

Alaska Child and Family (AKCF)
AKCF has been in the community for over 100 years and works with 300 families and children in Anchorage and Wasilla. AKCF brings hope to troubled young lives through a broad range of mental health services. They provide residential psychiatric treatment, community-based programs and treatment foster homes that offer the structure, care and expertise to help young people build strong, positive, healthy lives.

Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW)
LCSNW partners with individuals, families and communities for health, justice and hope in Washington. They provide comprehensive services for refugees and immigrants, aging adults, victims of crime, and children, families, and communities. LCSNW has implemented a wraparound model to support families in the eastern part of the state that successfully reduced the number of children entering foster care.

Lutheran Social Service of South Dakota (LSSSD)
LSSSD has a 100-year history of providing services to children and families across South Dakota. LSSD touches the lives of South Dakotans 38,099 times each year with a variety of programs and services statewide. LSS is one of the largest private non-profit human service agencies in South Dakota. LSS serves people of all ages, faiths, races and economic status with professional, confidential and affordable services.

St. John’s United (SJU)
St. John’s United was founded in 1963 and owned by 25 Montana congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  SJU serves the entire state of Montana, offering a wide array of services to older adults, families, and children. As Montana’s first HUD-financed senior retirement community, St. John’s has grown to become one of the largest providers for eldercare in Montana, consisting of 109 low-income retirement apartments, 186 skilled nursing beds, and two transitional care centers.