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. These WELS camps are designed for people with developmental disabilities:

  • Camp BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ) is for persons age 10 and older with moderate developmental disabilities. Two sessions are held at Wyalusing State Park in western Wisconsin: June 16-21 and June 22-27, 2020. Register at
  • Jesus Cares week at Camp Phillip in Wautoma, Wis. is June 29 – July 3, 2020 for those with mild to moderate disabilities who are ambulatory. Register at
  • Joy in Jesus retreats in Minnesota are for those 18 and older.
    • Camp Omega near Waterville, September 18-20, 2020
    • Green Lake Bible Camp near Spicer, October 11-13, 2020

    Register at

    “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.