By Dan Montgomery

Lutheran Family Services of Virginia just received a big, internationally recognized stamp of approval.

After a months-long preparation process, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) granted LFSVA a three-year accreditation for its foster care and supported employment programs.

LFSVA Chief Operating Officer Ray Ratke

“This tells the people and agencies we work with — or may work with in the future — that our foster care and employment programs, along with the agency’s leadership and organization, meet the highest standards for professionalism and for keeping our focus on what is best for those we serve,” said LFSVA Chief Operating Officer Ray Ratke.

The endorsement reflects the commitment and work of LFSVA employees up and down the organizational chart.

“This is something everyone in the organization should be proud of,” Ratke said.

The accreditation process included case-record and personnel-file reviews, site visits and interviews with LFSVA stakeholders, including staff, people who receive our services, and referral sources for the foster care and supported employment programs.

LFSVA sought CARF accreditation because it recognizes the agency’s existing strengths, but also because CARF inspectors, who work with social services organizations around the world, can make informed suggestions for further improving our programs and processes, Ratke said.

In his letter to LFSVA, Commission President Brian J. Boon said, “This achievement is an indication of your organization’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the persons served. Your organization should take pride in achieving this high level of accreditation.”

LFSVA works with foster families in the Richmond and Tidewater areas, helping with recruitment, training, matching children and families and ongoing counseling and expertise. We specialize in Treatment Foster Care, which recognizes and addresses the trauma suffered by many children in the foster-care system.

The agency’s year-old Supported Employment Services program helps individuals with disabilities in Southwestern Virginia find, learn and keep real jobs that pay real wages.

LFSVA leadership may seek CARF accreditation for more programs in the future, Ratke said.

To learn more about Lutheran Family Services of Virginia’s foster care and supported employment programs, call 1 (800) 359-3834 or visit