Serving God, Changing Lives

Lutheran Services in America and the ELCA Expand Partnership to Address Systematic Barriers for Black, Brown and Indigenous Children and Youth

​WASHINGTON (Jan. 18, 2023) — The ELCA awarded Lutheran Services in America a $1 million grant over two years to deepen and extend the impact of its Results Innovation Lab, a national program dedicated to achieving equitable outcomes for 20,000 children, youth and families by 2024. This new investment will enable Lutheran Services in America, a national network of 300 health and human services organizations that reaches one in 50 people in the United States each year, to scale and replicate innovations from the Lab to reach more children and families across the country beyond 2024.

The ELCA’s partnership and support through the Lutheran Services Children’s Endowment to the Lutheran Services in America Results Innovation Lab was a catalyst for the early results achieved under the Lab, which are effectively empowering families experiencing poverty and addressing racial inequities in the child welfare system.

“The intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession, racism, and other socioeconomic challenges disproportionately impact the lives of Black, Brown and Indigenous children and their families,” said the Rev. Dr. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for service and justice at the ELCA. “As Lutherans, we are called to do God’s work in a complex world. Lutheran Services in America calls on a large national network of Lutheran social ministry organizations and other friends and partners who share our goal to address systemic barriers in our communities for children and youth of color, which lead to their overrepresentation in the child welfare system. The ELCA values the innovative work that Lutheran social ministry organizations are doing through the Results Innovation Lab and we hope this grant empowers ministry leaders to accelerate towards a future where all children and families in the U.S. have an equitable outcome.”

Youth of color are over-represented in the child welfare system. Black, Brown and Indigenous youth are removed from their families, placed in foster care and experience poorer outcomes at higher rates compared to White children. With the ELCA’s support of the Results Innovation Lab, Lutheran Services in America will be able to engage additional Lutheran social ministry leaders and provide new tools and approaches to transform policy and practice in child welfare and support families in crisis so that all children in the United States can grow up in safe, nurturing and stable families.

“Lutheran Services in America and the ELCA share a goal to lift up Lutheran social ministry in its work to transform lives and communities and care for people in need wherever they are. We gratefully acknowledge the ELCA’s commitment to our ministries and look forward to strengthening our collaboration with the ELCA and its ministries of diverse cultures and communities to address systematic barriers for children and youth of color who experience inequitable outcomes in the child welfare system,” said Charlotte Haberaecker, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America.

The partnership is a reflection of the church in the world. It taps into the hallmark of the Lutheran tradition of service to our neighbor by bringing people and resources together to solve problems so that all people can thrive.

About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America is a national network of 300 health and human services organizations that reaches one in 50 people in the United States each year. Recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes as one of the nation’s top nonprofit organizations, the Lutheran Services in America network operates with more than $23 billion in combined annual revenue. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Lutheran Services in America leads innovative collaborations with its member organizations and partners in philanthropy, academia, healthcare and business to address the most critical challenges in our communities and empower people to lead their best lives.

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