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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 see the 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

Following are highlights, expansions and changes of LSS through the years.

1920   Lutheran Children’s Home Finding Society organizes in Sioux Falls
1921   House of Mercy maternity home opens in Sioux Falls
1939   First private agency to be licensed for child care in South Dakota
1939   Name changes to Lutheran Welfare Society of South Dakota
1947   Foster Care Services begin
1948   Refugee Resettlement program begins following WWII
1961   Youth residential services begin when Summit Oaks Center is built
1962   Counseling office opens in Rapid City establishing a statewide presence
1965   Name changes to Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota
1969   Counseling office opens in Aberdeen
1970   Counseling office opens in Sioux Falls
1973   Woodfield Center (formerly Bethesda Children’s Home) becomes part of LSS
1977   Satellite counseling offices open in several communities
1983   Counseling office opens in Watertown
1984   Consumer Credit Counseling Service becomes part of LSS
1991   New Beginning Center, Aberdeen, becomes part of LSS
1993   Canyon Hills Center, Spearfish, becomes part of LSS
1997   Disaster Response Services created
1998   Gateway Apartments opens in Sioux Falls to offer affordable housing to seniors
2000   Southern Hills After School program opens in Sioux Falls
2000   Affordable housing for seniors and families is established in rural communities
2001   School-Based Mentoring becomes part of LSS
2004   Stepping Stones and Casey Foster Care, Rapid City become part of LSS
2005   New Canyon Hills Center facility in Spearfish is dedicated
2006   New Beginning Center facility expands in Aberdeen
2007   Sioux Falls Center for Children and Youth facility is dedicated
2007   Hilltop After School program opens in Sioux Falls
2007   Fatherhood & Families begins in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Springfield and Yankton
2008   Rural Mentoring program begins in Lincoln and Minnehaha counties
2009   Woodfield Center ceases operation as a youth residential treatment center
2009   Prairie Lake affordable housing apartments open in North Sioux City
2009   Refugee & Immigration Services opens an office in Huron
2009   USucceed mentoring program begins
2010   Southern Hills expands to include infant-toddler enrichment care
2010   Community Resource Program becomes part of LSS
2012   Childcare & Education Services completes a major expansion at the Southern Hills facility and expands 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 opens in Rapid City
2013   Kinship Services becomes part of LSS
2014   LSS establishes new branding and logo design
2014   Refugee & Immigration Services changes its name to Center for New Americans
2014   Consumer Credit Counseling Service changes its name to Center for Financial Resources
2014   Arise Youth Center Evening Report Center opens in Rapid City
2014   Counseling and Re-Entry Services provide services as part of the SD Criminal Justice Initiative, CJI
2015   LSS sells Gateway Apartment building, Sioux Falls
2015   Here4Youth Childcare becomes part of LSS
2015   Better Together begins in the Sioux Falls area
2015   New Alternatives, Intensive Independent Living Services, opens in Rapid City
2015   Counseling Services incorporates telehealth technology into service delivery
2015   Counseling Services starts providing counseling to students within the schools through the PATH program
2016   Arise Youth Center, Reception Center, Shelter Care and Evening Report Center open in Sioux Falls
2016   Functional Family Therapy begins through the state’s Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative
2016   Stepping Stones ceases operation
2017   Fatherhood & Families changes its name to Re-Entry Services
2017   LSS purchases property now known as the Campus on East Bank
2017   LSS sells Meadowlands affordable housing in Viborg
2017   LSS sells Broadway affordable housing in Centerville
2017   Center for New Americans office in Huron closes
2018   Re-Entry Services expands services to women through ICIP, Intermediate Correctional Intervention Program
2018   Better Together expands to Brookings
2019   Mentoring Services’ Everyday Heroes program expands to Flandreau
2019   Counseling Services changes its name to Behavioral Health Services
2019   Here4Youth Childcare & Education Services relocates to the Campus on East Bank
2019   Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire transitions to LSS Mentoring Services
2019   Family Violence Program transitions from Compass Center to Re-Entry Services
2020   Resource Family Services becomes part of LSS
2020   LSS establishes new branding and logo update
2020   LSS celebrates 100 years of serving South Dakota
2020   Fire destroys Northport Apartments, affordable housing building, North Sioux City
2021   Cares Wraparound Services begin
2022   Older Adult Resource Network begins
2022   LSS celebrates 28 years of continuous accreditation through the Council on Accreditation, COA
2022   Multi-Cultural Center becomes part of LSS
2023   Mentoring Services expands to Aberdeen
2023  Childcare & Education Services closed East Side Lutheran location in Sioux Falls

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.