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Caring for Children

Caring for Children
on the Border and throughout the World

For more than 10 years, Upbring, a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), has worked with the U.S. Office of Refugee resettlement (ORR) to provide emergency shelters to undocumented children. Upbring CEO Dr. Kurt Senske says that while “the laws and regulations change … at the end of the day our job remains the same: to serve those who have nothing, to care for ‘the least of these’ like our own, and to the extent possible, to reunify them with a sponsor or family member who can care for them.”

Upbring, formerly Lutheran Social Services of the South, is a 136-year-old organization with a history of caring for those in need. Today its primary focus is to break the cycle of child abuse by providing children with five markers of success – safety, life skills, health, education and vocation – while helping them discover their God-given calling. Upbring’s work is carried out in two emergency shelters plus a network of transitional foster care homes. In 2017, Upbring served 1,349 unaccompanied children; in 2018 they expect that number to exceed 1,500.

Children typically stay in Upbring’s care for 27 to 60 days. During that time, their physical and emotional health are assessed, they are assigned a case worker, and they live in a home-like setting while receiving 7-½ to 8 hours of education daily and regular outdoor recreational time.

Most of the children who come to Upbring arrive from Central America. When they do, they receive an age-appropriate Spanish language Bible.

Upbring has recently received approval for a $100,000 grant from the LCMS for its work of bringing mercy to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children along the southern border, work that is increasing in urgency. This assistance is made possible through the generosity and care of those who have given, and continue to give, to the mercy efforts of LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Thanks be to God both for the helpers and those being helped, as we live together as His redeemed people in the grace, peace and unity of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

To find out more and support the work of Upbring, visit To support LCMS mercy work on the border and throughout the world, including RSOs like Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care, visit

This article is copied from:

LCMS World Relief and Human Care



July 2018

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