Lutheran Family Services can trace its commitment to foster care and family stabilization to the late 1940s, when the Executive Board of the Lutheran Children’s Home of the South hired its first employee dedicated to finding foster families for the children. The decade following World War II was a time of transition in which leaders sought professional training for staff and employed new services and methods for child care, especially those that helped preserve and “rehabilitate” the family.
After a bumpy start, the Board hired Bruce Wilds as assistant superintendent and caseworker for foster care in 1957. His background in psychology and counseling was helpful, especially as the population of the home was shifting from long-term care to short-term emergency care for children from families in crisis.
During this period, the Board set aside $2,500 for the Mother’s Aid program, which gave grants to mothers so that they could afford to keep their children rather than send them to the Children’s Home. The first person to receive aid was a mother from Montgomery, Alabama, who got $75 a month. Programs started by the Children’s Home in the 1950s marked the beginning of a rich heritage of advocacy and services on behalf of children and families.
Today, the skilled and compassionate staff of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia works alongside the people we serve to help them live abundant lives. We offer services to keep families strong and intact; help children ages 5 to 22 with complex needs find success in the classroom, at home and the community; seek healthy family living and permanence for children through foster care and adoption; help adults with disabilities live with dignity and grace in their communities; and provide assistance and support to older adults, their caregivers and to those who are grieving.