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Historical Summary

From the very beginning, Lutheran Social Services offered hope and healing to children. We began in 1920 as the Lutheran Children's Home Finding Society to help "unfortunate girls" and their children. Today, our services have grown to encompass the entire family and its needs - from prevention to counseling and more.

This greatly expanded ministry provides services statewide and beyond. LSS has continued with the original vision - witness the pain of human life and seeing potential for healing and wholeness, while exploring new avenues of service to the people of our state. Today thousands of people of all ages, races, faiths and from all walks of life are served by Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota.

A Tradition of Compassion, Vision & Leadership

Here are a few highlights, growth, and changes of LSS over the years:
1920 Lutheran Children's Home Finding Society organizes in Sioux Falls
1921 House of Mercy maternity home opens in Sioux Falls with Bertha Bragstad as the first matron
1947 Foster Care program begins
1948 Refugee Resettlement program begins following WWII
1961 Summit Oaks Center (youth residential) is built(originally named Bertha Bragstad Hall)
1962-83 Counseling offices open in locations statewide
1965 Name changes from Lutheran Welfare Society to Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota
1973 Bethesda Children's Home (Beresford) becomes Woodfield Center and a part of LSS
1984 Consumer Credit Counseling Service established
1991 New Beginning Center, Aberdeen, becomes part of LSS
1993 Canyon Hills Center, Spearfish, becomes part of LSS
1998 Gateway Apartments opens in Sioux Falls to offer affordable housing to seniors
2000 Affordable housing for seniors and families established in rural communities
2000 Southern Hills After School program begins, Sioux Falls
2001 School-Based Mentoring program begins in Sioux Falls
2002 Family Based Counseling program begins
2004 Stepping Stones program begins, Rapid City
2005 New Canyon Hills Center facility completed and dedicated in Spearfish
2006 New Beginning Center facility expands in Aberdeen
2007 Sioux Falls Center for Children and Youth facility completed and dedicated
2007 Hilltop After School program opens, Sioux Falls
2007 Fatherhood & Families begins in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Springfield & Yankton
2008 Rural Mentoring program begins in Lincoln and Minnehaha counties
2009 Woodfield Center (Beresford) ceases operation as a youth residential treatment center
2009 Refugee & Immigration services expanded to Huron and Aberdeen
2009 Prairie Lake affordable housing apartment complex was completed in North Sioux City
2009 USucceed mentoring program begins
2010 LSS expanded its Childcare & Education Services to include infant-toddler care
2010 Community Resource Program established statewide
2012 Childcare & Education Services completed a major expansion at the Southern Hills facility, and expanded to additional sites in Sioux Falls including First Reformed, East Side Lutheran and Our Savior’s Lutheran
2013 Arise Youth Center Reception Center & Shelter Care opened in Rapid City
2013 Kinship Care becomes part of LSS
2014 Council of Accreditation (COA) reaccreditation. This is LSS’s 20th anniversary of continuous accreditation
2014 Branding as LSS with new logo design
2014 Refugee & Immigration Services changed their name to Center for New Americans
2014 Consumer Credit Counseling Service changed its name to the Center for Financial Resources
2014 Arise Youth Center Evening Report Center opened in Rapid City
2015 Sold Gateway Apartment building, Sioux Falls
2015 Here4Youth Child Care becomes part of LSS
2015 LSS started Better Together matching older adults with volunteers in the Sioux Falls area
2015 New Alternatives, Intensive Independent Living Services, opened in Rapid City
2015 Incorporated Telehealth Technology into Counseling Services
2015 Counseling Services started providing counseling to students within the schools through the PATH program
2016 Arise Youth Center Reception Center, Shelter Care and Evening Report Center opened in Sioux Falls
2016 Functional Family Therapy began through the state’s Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative
2017 Fatherhood & Families changed their name to Re-Entry Services
2017 Purchased property known now as the Campus on East Bank
2018 Re-Entry Services expanded services to women through ICIP, Intermediate Correctional Intervention Program
2018 Council of Accreditation (COA) reaccreditation. This is the 24th anniversary of continuous accreditation
2019 Here4Youth Childcare & Education Services relocated to the Campus on East Bank
2019 Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire Transitioned to LSS Mentoring Services

We've grown, but our focus remains the same: providing a broad continuum of care for children and those who care for them. With our service locations in numerous South Dakota communities, help is never far away.

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