National Lutheran News

LSS of Minnesota signs management agreement with Children’s Home Society

Two of Minnesota’s leading adoption services will come together to combine complementary adoption services, high standards of quality, and strength as a national provider under a new management agreement between Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Children’s Home Society & Family Services (Children’s Home) beginning July 1.

Under the management agreement, the two organizations will gain operational efficiencies and unite their strengths and passions to secure loving adoptive families for children, according to Jodi Harpstead, CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS). While Children’s Home will remain a separate organization with its own name, board of directors, and endowment, LSS will assume management of its operations.

The decision is a strategic one. A year ago, Children’s Home announced a new strategic plan designed to gain efficiencies by joining forces with a strong, like-minded partner to advance its work in adoption, primarily for waiting children.

“Our partner turned out to be right next door,” said Maureen Warren, president and CEO of Children’s Home. “Our two organizations have common values, similar organizational cultures, and passion for the work we do. We see a very smooth transition ahead.”

While Children’s Home will remain a separate organization with its own name, board of directors, and endowment, LSS will assume management of its operations.

The move is triggered by changes in adoption. In recent years, changes in inter-country adoption practices and in the global economy have caused a decline in placements in adoptions. Trends for adoptions of waiting children and open adoptions continue to be positive. Adoption leaders anticipate that as inter-country adoption continues to evolve, there will be growth in the future.

“We’re excited about new possibilities we will create together,” said Harpstead. “Both of our organizations have deep roots in adoption dating back to the 1800s. When we combine our strengths and passions, we’ll be even stronger and more effective here in Minnesota and nationally in our shared work of finding loving families for children who need them.”

Two organizations, one managing agreement

The two adoption services will be co-located at the current Children’s Home building at 1605 Eustis in St. Paul. Adoption and pregnancy services will continue in other locations as well, including Duluth, Fergus Falls, Moorhead, St. Cloud, Mankato, and Rochester for LSS and Maryland and Virginia for Children’s Home. Together, the two organizations will employ approximately 70 staff in adoption and pregnancy services.

In management changes, Harpstead will add Children’s Home CEO to her executive responsibilities at LSS. Warren will serve as Vice President of Special Projects for LSS. While the new management agreement combines adoption services, each organization will continue to offer its own high quality services for children and families.

LSS was founded in 1865 when a Lutheran pastor and his congregation opened an orphanage for children near Red Wing, Minnesota. Today, LSS is the largest, statewide human services organization in the state, helping 100,000 people each year to live and work in community with safety, dignity, and hope. Through a wide range of services statewide, LSS seeks to provide safe and supportive homes for children, counseling to restore health and wellness in families, community living for people with disabilities, and options that help seniors engage in the community, stay healthy, and live as independently as possible. For more information, visit www.lssmn.org.

Since 1889, Children’s Home Society & Family Services has been helping to form and support families so that children can thrive. The organization works to give every child security, opportunity, and a loving family through local and international services including adoption, counseling, and education. The nonprofit is based in St. Paul with offices in Maryland and Virginia. For more information, visit www.chsfs.org.

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