2016 Provider Exchange® Launches Second Cohort at LSA Annual Conference

Focusing on Finding Families for Older Youth in Foster Care

Washington, DC, May 31, 2016 --(PR.com)-- Lutheran Services in America (LSA) expanded its partnership with the Provider Exchange® at its annual conference in Minneapolis. The Provider Exchange® expands the work begun last year to provide technical assistance to 12 LSA members by adding seven LSA members to a new cohort to identify and implement best practices for youth at risk of aging out of the child welfare system to achieve permanency, either with a permanent family (through reunification, adoption or guardianship) or through a lifelong connection to a committed, caring adult.

The newest cohort includes members who provide traditional and therapeutic foster care, short-term residential services, independent living as well as transitional services for older youth have committed to a year-long learning journey. They will work with the Provider Exchange® — a network of exemplar child welfare providers who have negotiated complex change in their own organizations and communities, to improve the lives of children youth and families. The Provider Exchange® is supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

"I was wowed by the energy and dedication of everyone and excited to participate. Thank you!" -- Rochelle J. Brunsdon, M.S.W., LICSW Area Director Lutheran Community Services Northwest.

The cohort’s objectives include exploring best practices, techniques and tools to support and assist organizations in integrating family placements for older youth into its culture and programming.

Each LSA member will receive technical assistance, working with Mona Swanson, chief program officer, Tonyna McGhee, assistant vice president and Vincent Madera, program manager of The Children's Village. In addition to other resources and the individualized coaching, consultation and support from the Provider Exchange®, the cohort will convene four times over the course of a year.

As part of this project, Natalie Goodnow from the Kennedy School at Harvard will prepare a white paper on the cohort’s lessons learned during the year. These experiences will be shared with the LSA network and more broadly with the child welfare field to share effective ways organizations can promote family placements for the older youth they serve.

"Our partnership with the Provider Exchange® provides technical assistance on models of care and strategies that truly make a difference in the lives of older youth,” said Charlotte Haberaecker, LSA’s president. “We are excited about the learnings that will come from this group and the opportunity to share these findings more broadly with our members and the Harvard Kennedy School."

LSA has more than 100 organizations that serve children, youth and families in 33 states across the country. Members provide a broad range of services from foster care and adoption to counseling, housing, health care, mental health care, early childhood education, charter schools and alternatives to detention.

The 2016 cohort organizations are:
• Bethesda Children's Home
• Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
• Lutheran Community Services Northwest
• Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois
• Lutheran Social Services of Northern California
• Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center
• Oesterlen Services for Youth

For more information, please contact Alesia Frerichs at afrerichs@lutheranservices.org or visit the LSA Children Youth and Family Working Group webpage at www.lutheranservices.org/cyf

Lutheran Services in America, Incorporated (LSA) is one of the largest health and human services networks in the country with more than 300 members that provide a broad range of critical services from health care to children and family services, senior services, disaster relief, refugee services, disability support, housing, and employment support, among others. Collectively, LSA members serve 1 in 50 people each year in thousands of communities across the United States and are open to all regardless of their religious affiliation or social or economic background. The LSA network is ranked at #23 on the Philanthropy 400, an annual listing of top charitable groups, and has combined revenue of $21 billion. LSA is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, please visit www.lutheranservices.org.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private philanthropy that creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. The Provider Exchange®, supported by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a network of child welfare providers who have successfully negotiated complex change in their own organizations and communities to improve the lives of children and families.
Lutheran Services in America
Liliana Pettenkofer