LDS Family Services
LDS Family Services is a private nonprofit corporation owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It offers members of the church and others adoption services, marital and family counseling, addiction and drug dependency counseling, general psychotherapy, and counseling and other services to women or girls experiencing unintended pregnancy. In addition to individual counseling, classes are offered on strengthening marriage; strengthening families; and the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), based on the 12-step model and Christian values.
In 1919 the organization was created as the Relief Society Social Service Department by Amy B. Lyman, an official in the church's Relief Society. In 1969, the organization was renamed Unified Social Services. In 1973, the organization became a corporation separate from the church's Relief Society and renamed LDS Social Services; in 1995, the name was changed to LDS Family Services.
LDS Family Services currently has 62 offices located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Staff must have a minimum of a master's degree in behavioural sciences.
Birth-parent services are offered to all, regardless of religion, and are free of charge. LDS Family Services respects the agency of unwed parents and provides options counseling to birth parents to help them explore different options, including single parenting, marriage, and adoption. In a 1998 letter, the First Presidency of the LDS Church clarified the purpose of the adoption services provided at LDS Family Services:
- Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by parents who provide love, support, and all the blessings of the gospel. Every effort should be made in helping those who conceive out of wedlock to establish an eternal family relationship. When the probability of a successful marriage is unlikely, unwed parents should be encouraged to place the child for adoption, preferably through LDS [Family] Services.
LDS Family Services requires that all those who wish to adopt through the organization meet certain eligibility requirements. In addition to compliance with all state and federal laws, these requirements include that prospective adoptive parents must be "members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sealed to each other in the temple, and have current temple recommends." As a result, LDS Family Services does not facilitate adoptions by single parents, unwed couples, or same-sex partners.
- C. Ross Clement (1992). "Social Services" in Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: Macmillan) p. 1386–1387.
- Encyclopedia of Latter-Day Saint History, p. 1157.
- LDS Family Services : official webpage