Lutheran Family Services of Virginia states that their mission is to strengthen family life in community and congregation by attending to their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The organization is a charter member of Lutheran Services in America , an alliance of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and their respective social ministry organizations. Lutheran Services in America serves nearly two million persons a year through 95,000 employees.Lutheran Family Services funds its programs through various types of donations. The organization accepts donations of cash, securities, real estate, memorial gifts, corporate matching gifts, retirement plan gifts, gifts of life insurance, and charitable lead trusts. Lutheran Family Services also depends on a various types of financial support from Virginia churches, businesses, and individuals.
Richmond ‘s division of Lutheran Family Services offers a number of programs, including treatment foster care, home-based services, therapeutic mentoring, support groups, case management, visitation services, mentor match, and waiting child adoption.
Treatment Foster Care places youths who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse in a safe, community-based environment. Treatment Foster Youth have severe emotional, behavioral, and developmental problems. Such problems include conduct disorders, depression, difficulty in school and impaired social relationships. These children are placed with trained Foster Parents in their community, attend public school, participate in community functions, and live as family members where they learn to trust and develop familial bonds. Levels of Treatment Foster Care are based upon the needs of the young person. Independent living skills training is an integral part of support for each level of care.
Lutheran Family Services of Virginia operates on the assumption that the best place for children is with their own family whenever possible. Home-Based Family Services is provided to families at risk of having children removed from their home. The staff educates parents in health care, nutrition, budgeting, and homemaking skills. Parents are taught how to discipline with love, not anger. This program typically assists families with autistic children, and families who have taken responsibility for another family member’s child.
Therapeutic Support Services are offered to youth that have experienced neglect and abuse. The goal is to help Treatment Foster Youth resume a safe, healthy life. These services are also provided youth who are not in the care of Lutheran Family Services, who may come from unique economic, community, school or family environments. Trained, supervised Lutheran Family Services of Virginia mentors provide for extensive one-on-one therapeutic relationships to help youth manage anger, improve social skills, increase self-esteem, and improve schoolwork.
Case Management Services assists families in crisis by finding the best services to support keeping the family together. Support involves connecting the family to needed resources. Tied to this program is the Supervised Visitation Program. This program provides local Department of Social Services agencies with trained staff to supervise visitations between foster children and their birth family.
The mentor match program matches volunteer mentors with youth between the ages of eight and eighteen who are involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems. The program operates around a minimum of two hours a week that the mentor and youth must spend together. Youth who have mentors have been found to be more successful at making and keeping friends, building their social skills, and finding a job. This is the most volunteer dependent program at Lutheran Family Services.
Lastly, a program unique to Richmond is the Waiting Child Adoption Services. These children are usually older males of African-American heritage, sibling groups that include older children, disabled children, children from families with backgrounds of mental illness and substance abuse, and children with developmental delays. These children are in foster care and have been waiting for an adoption placement for a significant amount of time. These services are offered through a grant received from the Virginia Department of Social Services and are provided at no cost to the parents who adopt.
Lutheran Family Services Virginia-Richmond
2000 West Club Lane, Suite B
Richmond , VA 23226
Profile prepared by Kristen Smith