Results Innovation Lab


Innovative partnerships, equitable outcomes.

Our Results Innovation Lab recognizes the key role that providers have in transforming policy and practice in the child welfare system.

We engage leaders from the Lutheran Services in America network in active learning cohorts together with partners from academia, philanthropy and others to work toward transformative change.

Our goal is to achieve equitable outcomes for 20,000 children and families in the United States by 2024. Since its inception, the scope of the work in the Results Innovation Lab has reached over 17,000 youth and their families.

Core to our Lab approach is to address racial bias in the child welfare system. For example, disaggregating data is key to identifying practice changes and innovations needed to eliminate racial disparities and improve outcomes.

Our Lab is proven to effectively equip providers with tools to examine their practices and empower them to activate their local community stakeholders toward achieving systemic changes that will lead to an equitable outcome in the lives of all children and families in the United States.

Lutheran Services Florida developed community partnerships and strategies that decreased the number of youth placed in out-of-home care by 25% in 2021 and 40% by 2022.

“The Results Innovation Lab gave us an invaluable opportunity to reduce the time it takes children of color to find their forever family. This work has had a ripple effect: As an organization, we’ve grown into better advocates, including within the judicial system, insisting foster care is not lifelong. We increased permanency by 40 percent across our organization, greatly surpassing our goal.”

Beverly Jones

Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois



Disruption is in our DNA

The Harvard Case Study “Disruption is in our DNA: Lutheran Services in America and the Results Innovation Lab” chronicles how we are fundamentally challenging the status quo through innovation and collaboration and features our initiative to close disparities for children, youth and families and change outcomes in the child welfare system. The study was produced by Dr. Antonio Oftelie, Executive Director of Leadership for a Networked World at Harvard.


Transforming Congregate Care

Also produced by Dr. Antonio Oftelie, the report “Transforming Congregate Care:  A White Paper on Promising Policy and Practice Innovation” contributes valuable insights gathered through the Results Innovation Lab.

The report highlights the key role that providers have in the effort to eliminate the child welfare system’s reliance on group placements, including:

  • Sustained exploration and evaluation
  • Rigorous use of analytics and evidence-based insights
  • Strengthening the capabilities and mindset of staff


Dr. Oftelie joined the Annie E. Casey Foundation on Instagram Live to discuss the report’s strategies for keeping children with their families and reducing the reliance on group foster care placements. Dr. Oftelie and Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez share their insights on improving outcomes for children and families through the use of data and practice model changes to bring about innovative solutions.


Renada Johnson
Senior Director of Children, Youth and Family Initiatives