Social services organization offers new program for maternal depression

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COLUMBIA - A full house of people gathered at Lutheran Family & Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS) Thursday afternoon to celebrate its new location in central Columbia.

The statewide not-for-profit organization decided to expand its regional office in Columbia due to the rising demand for social services like pregnancy counseling and adoption.

Heather Wall, the regional director of LFCS in Columbia, said the new place is 1500 square feet bigger than the old one and enables the organization to expand its capacity to serve.

“We’re able to add another social worker, so that’s adding at least 20 to 25 more clients we can serve at a time,” Wall said.

The organization has also added a couple of new services since it moved to the new location on Locust Street three months ago.

One of new services is a maternal mental health program which aims to help mothers who are suffering from maternal depression.

“It’s one of those programs that there is just not anything out there for it. And we’ve just seen it grow tremendously this year,” she said. “It gives us the opportunity to work with mothers who are suffering from depression whether that’s during their pregnancy, postpartum or just after effect.”

The new program is funded by the Boone County Children Services Fund, according to the regional director.

Dozens of people gathered at the open house and witnessed the ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the ambassadors of Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

“I think it’s a great service for women who are struggling with pregnancy and able to help them through that,” said Ambassador Kevin Czaicki who hosted the ceremony.

The history of LFCS dates back to 1868 in the wake of the Civil War as a promise to a dying soldier to take care of his surviving son, according the website.

It gradually developed its free services to counseling, adoption, crisis pregnancy assistance, foster care, child care, youth mentoring services and disaster relief.

The regional office in Columbia opened in 1995.