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Press Releases & Statements Lutheran Services in America Deepens Commitment to Family Stabilization with $3.5 Million Investment to Expand Supports and Services

May 15, 2024

WASHINGTON — Lutheran Services in America — one of the nation’s largest national networks of health and human service providers committed to empowering families — is pleased to announce a $3.5 million investment to expand and further catalyze efforts in six communities across the United States to improve equitable outcomes for children, youth and families. The investment expands the work of the organization’s Family Stabilization Initiative (FSI), a key component of the Results Innovation Lab (RIL), and aims to engage 700 families in crisis to address long-standing racial disparities in child welfare.

Lutheran Services in America leads the Family Stabilization Initiative, a learning collaborative designed to innovate, replicate and scale promising practices. The $3.5 million in funding is the latest investment in a continuing partnership between Lutheran Services in America and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies that focuses on changing when and how families in crisis are engaged and addressing protective factors to strengthen resiliency.

The new investment builds on the success of the first phase of the FSI, which reached more than 700 families and allied organizations since its launch in 2021, surpassing its goal of 580 families. The FSI uses a data-informed approach to ensure alignment of needed services and supports to better address the holistic needs of families and prevent a disproportionate number of black and brown children from being removed from their homes.

“The Family Stabilization Initiative specifically seeks to help vulnerable families in local communities in four U.S. states achieve greater stability, build protective factors, and increase self-sufficiency” said Alesia Frerichs, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America. “Working in concert with local partners this partnership strives to reorient child welfare toward prevention while reducing the number of children entering foster care — especially children of color.”

With this investment, Lutheran Services in America will continue to engage AK Child and Family in Alaska, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, Lutheran Community Services Northwest in Washington state and St. John’s United in Montana, along with allied organizations. The goal is to apply the principles of the wraparound model to better meet the holistic needs of families and address racial bias in the child welfare system.

“By addressing the root causes of crisis and implementing the wraparound model, we’re better positioned to build strong foundations for families to thrive. The collaborative nature of the Family Stabilization Initiative, grounded in shared efforts and experiences in prevention-based services, has significantly strengthened our organization’s capacity to implement these transformative services, allowing us to create new pathways towards stability and keep families together. With every step, we’re not just providing services; we’re nurturing hope, building resilience, and keeping families together,” said Anne Dennis-Choi, president and CEO of AK Child and Family.

Lutheran Services in America continues to grow its partnerships with organizations aligned with this mission. In October 2023, Lutheran Services in America collaborated with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago to develop a toolkit for human services organizations to integrate racial equity and sustainability principles into their implementation of evidence-based family stabilization programs.

“The Chapin Hall team is so pleased to contribute our expertise toward developing new resources with Lutheran Services in America that advance evidence-based family stabilization programs and integrate essential principles of racial equity and sustainability. The Lutheran Services in America–Chapin Hall partnership underscores our shared commitment to fostering inclusive and sustainable solutions for strengthening families across communities,” said Julie McCrae, a senior researcher at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America is one of the nation’s largest national networks of health and human service providers with a mission to cultivate caring communities that advance health and opportunity for all. With 300 nonprofit organizations across 1,400 U.S. communities and more than $26 billion in combined annual services, the Lutheran Services in America network advances equitable outcomes for children, youth and families, improves independence and choice for older adults, champions meaningful services and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and strengthens stability and purpose for veterans, refugees, new Americans and other special populations. Formed in 1997, Lutheran Services in America brings together a network of leaders, partners and funders to catalyze innovation, strengthen organizational capacity and advance public policy.

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