Parents and Family

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Ministry can connect you with WELS members and resources to assist you as you seek the spiritual well-being of your family members or neighbors with special needs.  If you click on the titles of each of the paragraphs below, you will find more information to help you or those you care about.

Special Needs Family Network
If you are interested in connecting with a parent mentor, e-mail Say you are interested in connecting with a parent mentor and the coordinator will give you the contact information of a parent or family member whose situation is similar to yours. . . .

He Cares/We Care
Many developmentally disabled children and adults experience a lot of isolation.  He Cares/We Care mails cards and Christian letters to those who are developmentally disabled.  You can register someone with a developmental disability by using the referral form.

New Friends
New Friends, a Christian-based friendship network that is part of Jesus Cares Ministries, a ministry of The Lutheran Home Association, connects teens and college students with families who have special needs children. Its purpose is to build relationships by focusing on abilities and not disabilities and to create a fun-filled atmosphere the entire family can come and enjoy.

Summer Camps
Every summer, several WELS camps offer special programs for people with special needs.  As those camps announce their plans, we will list them here.  Among the annual camps are the Jesus Cares Camp which will be held July 3-7, 2017, at Camp Phillip.  Camp BASIC offers two different weeks of June for people with special needs and is held at Wyalusing State Park near the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin.  Information about this year’s camps will be posted at this Camp BASIC link.  Every fall two Joy in Jesus retreats are offered in Minnesota.  One retreat is held at Camp Omega near Waterville and the other at Green Lake Bible Camp near Spicer, Minnesota.  Information about this year’s Joy in Jesus camps will be posted when available.

“Give Me a Break” webinars for parents
Parents and families of children with special needs often need special spiritual support. We have prepared some webinars for parents on the subjects of enjoying the child God has given you, understanding clinical problems that might occur from a difficult parenting situation, and some encouraging tips for managing your time when pressed for time.