Since the early 1980s, Lutheran Family Services has offered educational and therapeutic services to children with emotional, intellectual and developmental disabilities through our Minnick Schools and child and family services. Our services grew to include behavioral therapy for children on the autism spectrum, parent education groups for their families, outpatient mental health counseling for children in the foster care and adoption program, and vocational programming for students with complex needs.
Our desire to extend our work with children and families led us to move into serving adults who are coping with a wide spectrum of disability. In 2011, Lutheran Family Services purchased the Lamano Agency, a well-respected provider of programs to adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities with programs primarily in the western part of the state. The addition of the Lamano staff doubled our size, increased our leadership capacity in developmental services and allowed us to create a stronger network of care for individuals of all ages who are coping with some of life’s most difficult struggles. The joining of our work forces meant that we added group homes, Family Care homes, in-home services, and day support for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to our mix of programs and services.
With the addition of the seasoned and expert Lamano leadership team and staff, we have expanded our programs into northern Virginia and Tidewater, opened new group homes, refurbished existing group homes and day support programs, and recruited more family care home providers. In addition, we have and continue to expand our Minnick School campuses to further serve families whose children have complex special needs.
But even before our purchase of the Lamano Agency, LFSVA had been part of a pilot program to increase capacity among Lutheran-affiliated human services agencies to provide services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We continue to be active in the Lutheran Services of America Disability Network, which includes 25 member organizations providing support to more than 150,000 individuals in 32 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Our goal is to provide a seamless, lifespan array of services and supports to individuals with disabilities through an array of flexible, individualized, and high-quality community services in areas of Virginia where they are most needed. We will continue to expand choice for individuals and families, provide the highest possible quality of services and supports, and build the kinds of public and/or private provider partnerships that will help us sustain and build upon our successes.