About LSSI

Our Mission

Lutheran Social Services of Indiana expresses the love of Jesus Christ for all people through services that empower individuals and families to move toward social, emotional, and spiritual wholeness.

To promote the overall health of our community, LSSI focuses on equipping willing families facing the most challenging obstacles with the skills necessary to make positive life choices as evidenced by advancement toward economic and family stability.

Commitment to excellence

Hope now and for eternity

Respect for all people

Integrity in relationships and resources

Service as a reflection of our faith

Trust in Christ and His Word

As an organization accredited by the Council on Accreditation, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana adheres to the highest standard of best practices while providing quality services to those we serve. One way that we validate this commitment is through our Performance and Quality Improvement (PQI) processes. The purpose of PQI is to reinforce our mission and best practices for every facet of our organization. We accomplish this by being:

  • Mission-driven: All program and services reflect the foundation of the agency. Otherwise, why does the program or service exist? We stay focused on our mission. We are a faith-based agency, not just a non-profit agency!
  • Client-centered: Services are designed and delivered with the focus on the needs of clients and the community at the earliest possible stages by using best and evidenced-based practices.
  • Accessible: Families and individuals have convenient access to services. (i.e., physical access, elimination of runaround for service).

The early offices of Lutheran Social Services of Indiana.

For over a century, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana (LSSI) has been reaching out to the community, meeting needs with Christ’s love. Our roots in the community run deep, dating back to 1901, when nearly every week Pastor Philip Wambsganss provided homes for infants left on the steps of Emmaus Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne.

When he held those abandoned infants in front of his congregation and asked, “Who will take this child home?” he had no intention of founding a social-service agency. He was just fulfilling the commandments to “love the Lord your God with all your heart … and love your neighbor as yourself.” And yet, with this simple start, LSSI was born. Under the title of Lutheran Children’s Friend Society of Indiana and Ohio, Pastor Wambsganss began placing children with families in the Lutheran community. In 1951, the organization merged with the Lutheran Social Service League, a vibrant and active organization created to meet the financial needs of Lutheran families, to create Lutheran Social Services of Indiana.

Today, with the support of volunteers, donors, and a dedicated staff, LSSI still helps individuals, children, and families meet the special needs and challenges in their lives. We continue to provide adoption services, but we also reach out to families through pregnancy services, teen education and advocacy, child care, and more.

Lutheran Social Services is now located at 333 East Lewis Street in Fort Wayne.

Lutheran Social Services is now located at 333 East Lewis Street in Fort Wayne.

Our reach has grown as well. We now provide services to many Allen County member congregations, as well as the wider community, in northern Indiana. LSS has a budget of more than $3.0 million and more than 60 full- and part-time staff. In 1978, LSSI became the first Allen County social-service agency to be accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Families (COA), an accreditation we maintain today.

And while our programs and services have changed in response to our neighbors’ needs, our expression of Christ’s love to a hurting community remains steadfast, just as Pastor Wambsganss’ did over a century ago. Without regard to income or ability, we continue to care for and serve people through the love of Jesus Christ.