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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Extraordinary Families

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adoption, Children & Youth, Foster Care

Mission: The mission of Extraordinary Families is to help children and youth in foster care to have the childhoods and futures they rightfully deserve. Our vision is that every child, youth, and family involved in child welfare will have the ability to achieve their hopes, fulfill their dreams, and thrive.

Target demographics: Children and Families in Los Angeles County

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2019 we assisted a record number of children, youth, and families. Through our transition-age youth services, 62 volunteers mentored 52 young adults. Over 160 children were served in our foster homes, and 50 found a forever family through adoption. What is particularly noteworthy is the age range of children adopted by our families – from Ava, at 7 months old, to Derek at age 18.

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles County

Programs: We are a leading nonprofit foster family, adoption, and advocacy agency dedicated to improving the daily lives and long-term outcomes of children and youth in foster care. We recruit, train, and support high quality foster and adoptive (resource) parents for children removed from their families due to abuse or neglect. We welcome a diverse population of individuals and families to serve as resource parents regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital or domestic partner status, political affiliation, or ancestry. Resource families are viewed as members of a team providing individualized care so each child can reach his/her fullest potential. In addition to foster care and adoption, we offer programs that support transition-age foster youth in obtaining meaningful work experience, connecting with mentors, and becoming self-sufficient adults. Drawing from our experience providing effective foster care, adoption, and youth services, we identify and pursue opportunities to improve the lives of those involved in the child welfare system through our strategic initiatives in policy and practice reform.

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a donor and volunteer with EF for years, and I am consistently amazed by their dedication to the families they serve. I've been especially moved by their annual holiday initiative, which was my first contact with the organization. I volunteered to wrap holiday gifts for EF kids to ensure they'd have presents to open like every child should. It may seem like a small gesture, but it speaks to EF's commitment to providing not only everything these kids need but also providing things that make childhood special. Thank you for your work!

Jessica K.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was certified as a foster parent with this agency, and ultimately wound up adopting. They are fantastic! They offer a lot of support to families. Their social workers are very knowledgeable, but also compassionate and understanding. They do all they can to make the process as easy as possible for their families. Prior to being certified with Extraordinarily Families, I was certified as a foster parent in another state, directly with the county, and there was a big difference. The support provided by Extraordinary Families was so much more than I received from the County agency directly. I would highly recommend them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To say this organization has changed my life is an understatement. I got involved with Extraordinary Families about 5 years ago. They were recommended to me through the non-profit Together We Rise as a location to drop off duffle bags filled with supplies for kids in the foster care system. Immediately I was struck by how welcoming and warm and appreciative the staff was. I called them back a few months later to see if they needed any help with anything for the holidays and that is when our annual wrapping party got started. The amazing stuff at EF used to spend their off work hours wrapping the gifts for the kids every single year. I wanted to give these amazing people some more time to rest and recharge so they could be the amazing advocates they are on a daily basis for children in the system. We started a party where every December, I would get together about 25-30 friends and we would wrap a huge bulk of the gifts in one night. When it started there were maybe only 12 people and now it has grown into a huge bunch. We also fundraise to help them raise money for the Holiday party they throw for the children and their foster families. Honestly the wrapping party is my favorite part of the holiday season. I love the staff at EF and so look forward to seeing them and hearing about the amazing work they are doing right here in my local community. Besides the wrapping party, I have done flowers for a fundraiser luncheon and volunteered for their Fall Festival and I just want to continue to support them in every way possible. The staff is incredible. The support and outpouring of goodness that comes from them is amazing. They work tirelessly to help kids in the system and do it with such grace and poise that it always leaves me in awe. This group of people has become like a second family to me. My friends as well love them so much and are so happy to volunteer when I ask them to. Truly the best organization and I cannot wait to keep working with them for decades to come. I included some photos from our wrapping parties from the first year and the last year. Great org and great people!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EF really cares about bettering the lives of foster kids and it's really heartening to see how hard they work. I've helped them put on a carnival as well as wrap holiday presents, and the workers' dedication shines through every time. They do great work.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our second family!
My son and I adopted each other through Extraordinary families in 2009. We have stayed in contact with our friends at the agency ever since. We try to attend all of the events and gatherings they host so we can see the other families we met along our journey there.
My son is 12 now and i am forever grateful that i walked through the doors at Extraordinary Families.
OK, can i brag a bit? My son is fluent (reading and writing) in 2 languages and is learning his third. With that being said i'm not sure my own family genetics could have produced such a smarty pants!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've participated in Extraordinary Families' Christmas drive for several years and have always been impressed with how effectively it's run and how focused on the children the efforts are. It's always clear where resources are being allocated, and it's communicated very well exactly how donations will be managed and distributed.

Maggie C.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Extraordinary Families is a wonderful asset to our community and does such important work for foster youth and families. Their commitment to equity, inclusion, and service are an inspiration

Rob D.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We attended the Christmas event and everything was perfectly organized. Thank you to the organizers for such an inspiring event.

Chris Sanchez L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Extraordinary Families is an amazing organization that supports and educates foster youth on positive ways to deal with past neglect and abuse. As a clinical social worker that has been working in the field for 10 years, I was impressed by our social worker Amanda. She used a holistic and trauma informed approach that supported and reduced our stress while navigating the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS).
I describe the process of foster/adoption as a roller coaster ride of emotions and without supportive professionals like Amanda, our family would not have survived roller coaster of social services. We were well informed by the agency though trainings and learned how to be supportive to our daughters emotional and physical needs. The agency did a wonderful job at listening to the daughter’s point of view which, makes her feel valued, loved, and respected. We are thankful every day because working with Extraordinary Families made our daughter’s experience in the foster care system less stressful, which made it easier for her to form a secure attachment with us, and adjust to her new family environment.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Extraordinary Families is a wonderful organization aligning foster children with caring families. They go beyond just training potential parents for foster care and adoption, they take the time to really get to know the parents and the children. This allows them to keep the priority of the child's best interest as their focus. They matched my family with twin girls and we felt like we had someone holding our hand through the entire process. Their staff of social workers are kind, professional and well informed. They understand the system and are interested in making foster care a more just and accountable world for children.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Extraordinary Families was like a warm hug from the beginning orientation to now, 2 years deep in the foster process. We selected this FFA because of their phenomenal reputation and the personal experience of a friend, and we knew we didn't need to look elsewhere from the first moment of orientation. The staff is kind, warm, welcoming, knowledgeable, and empower you on what can be an arduous, challenging, heartbreaking (and heart-making) journey. I can't recommend them enough.

Steven E.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Because of Extraordinary Families, I have been able to foster four amazing babies and have been lucky enough to adopt one of them. As a single father, I questioned if I would have the time that was required of foster parents in regards to appt's, visits, etc. I felt support from the entire agency. My training was very thorough and I felt more than prepared when I received my first call regarding a placement. EF was there to hold my hand and offer a shoulder to cry on when my first child was reunified with biological family. And I did it again three more times. As I mentioned, I was able to adopt my last little one. Throughout the entire process, I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Extraordinary Families was there for me every step of the way offering their wealth of knowledge and continued love and support.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization puts people first. Their focus on improving the lives of children in foster care never wavers. The staff and workers of Extraordinary Families take extra time and care in service of the children and families within their caseload. They helped me create my family seven years ago and I’m back again to adopt another child. This is an exemplar non-profit and a role model for the industry.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m on my second fost-adopt process with this agency. Their human touch helps me navigate the stressful twists and turns of “the system”. Everyone cares and goes out of their way to be accessible and helpful. They believe every child deserves an opportunity to thrive, and it shows! I highly recommend by this agency and have friends who have taken my referral and completed adoptions themselves. This agency is a model for superior service and mission focus. It’s all about the kids!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family has had an amazing experience. We we trained well and shepherded through a complex process with integrity. The agency is respectful of all, including single parents, LGBTQ families and children. They respect biological
Families and support youth who have aged out of the foster care system. I cannot imagine going through our process without their guidance, insight and support.

Client Served

Rating: 1

Our experience with Extraordinary Families was extremely negative. The certification process was more difficult than necessary, usually due to delays that the organization created. The matching process was essentially left up to us to do on our own and we were lucky enough to get involved with Kidsave, an organization that truly cares about finding adoptive homes for kids. After we were matched, Extraordinary Families did very little for us at all. After we adopted our foster daughter, we were faced with a situation where her siblings were placed in our home on an emergency basis. We reached out to Extraordinary Families to help us get re-certified as soon as possible so that we could help these children, but Extraordinary Families refused to help and instead chose to decertify us. They offered no help whatsoever.

Board Member

Rating: 5

When my husband and I moved to Los Angeles, we went to the LGBT Center and asked which would be the most welcoming foster-adoption agency. The recommendation was Extraordinary Families.

We'd started the process in other places, with other agencies, and none felt like a good fit. The people at Extraordinary Families were entirely different. Their knowledge of what to expect was comforting, and they were entirely straightforward about the challenges to come. The staff was supportive throughout a long process.

I chose to serve on the board because I owe so much to Extraordinary Families. I can never repay the love I've been given. Our twin daughters turn 8 this weekend, and I am forever lucky to be their dad.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Six years ago, my husband and I were introduced to Extraordinary Families while seeking out an agency to assist us through the foster-adopt process. From day one, the staff at EF has been by our side throughout the entire process. It has been several years now since we adopted our second son through EF and they remain a wonderful presence in our lives --- once our social workers, often times our support group (even after adopting!) and most importantly, now a second family who we will always stay in touch with.
We are so thankful for the education they provided us and the guidance they offer and could imagine going through the foster-adopt process with anyone else. Many times we have had "ah-ha" moments when we realized "oh this is what they meant when they taught us about this in class" -- and we were able to better navigate the world before us. We are also thankful for the support they have given us even after our adoptions were finalized. They have always, always been there when we needed them -- even for the smallest bit of advice.
We are forever thankful to this remarkable organization for the work they do finding homes for children in need and can not recommend them enough for anyone looking to foster or foster-adopt.
Jason Peers

2 Francesca Di A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

If you are considering becoming a fost-to-adopt parent, or a mentor in LA ,or even a donor, then you have to, hands down, go with Extraordinary Families. They are passionate about connecting great families with children who need a loving home.

We met with Extraordinary Families when we thought we MIGHT want to become fost-to-adopt parents. We had tried to conceive through IVF and had grown weary of that route because it felt like a financial transaction to us. So we turned to the possibility of becoming resource parents / fost-to-adopt moms. From the time we attended an orientation, right up to the time we finalized the adoption of our son, we interfaced with Extraordinary Families several times a week. Throughout the "A to Z" of this transformative and emotional journey, the staff and leadership at Extraordinary Families provided immeasurable support to us.

Since there are over 20 thousand children in the system in LA county alone, Extraordinary Families is a leader and an example of how to conduct best practices in this very complex legal and regulatory system. Extraordinary Families has been at it a long time, so there are a lot of resources and programs they undertake. One of the the roles they serve in the process is they act as a bridge between fost-to-adopt families and the system itself. And that is crucial. We learned about their UP4Youth Program where children who are transitioning to adulthood meet with mentors. We met youths and mentors from the program who said they had forged great bonds with one another and were making a great positive impact in each other's lives. Every person at Extraordinary Families, whether it be a social worker, adoption coordinator, the CEO (Barnaby), the in-take manager, (Marta), or the instructors, operate from the core commitment to act and work on behalf of the child. You can clearly see that.

This certainly was far from feeling like a financial transaction. As one fost-to-adopt mom put it, "This is opening your heart" and it can be unpredictable. No, this road is not an easy one, but the rewards are life changing. Extraordinary Families provides the support you need if you are going down this road. I cannot imagine another org doing better. Nor can I recommend Extraordinary Families enough. Extraordinary Families works tirelessly to make better outcomes for these children. They are an inspiration for true change in our county and in the lives many of us. We are grateful for all their hard work.


Client Served

Rating: 5

Where do I even begin... we were Introduced to Extraordinary Families thru some really good friends that had adopted their beautiful daughter thru them. We started are journey so excited and so hopeful but also so confused on how everything worked.

We met our adoption worker and our social worker from the agency and knew we were in the right hands. They walked us thru everything! From the first phone call, us saying yes and getting our son and all the court cases in between. They have been there physically and more importantly emotionally. I became friends with our social worker and actually looked forward to the visits.

This agency is a hidden gem! I am so lucky and thankful everyday for what they do for their families and more importantly the kids/babies in need.

We have since signed adoption paperwork and are almost to the end of this crazy journey. Without Extraordinary Families we would not have our son, we are eternally grateful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As foster parents, we original chose this organization because of its phenomenal reputation. Throughout our 7 years working with this non-profit institution, we've come to appreciate and value the members as our own family. I have said this many times before, only a foster parent would understand the experience of another foster parent. Extraordinary Families was there to provide support, guidance and encouragement to all of its foster parents. We will be eternally grateful for the men/women who had dedicated their lives in running this organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family has been forever changed for the better through our experience with Extraordinary Families. They are incredibly caring, professional, and passionate about their work with and on behalf of children and families.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Extraordinary Families has become an integral part of our family. We started fostering with them in 2017 and are nearing the end of our adoption with our son. EF has been so wonderful and supportive all along the path, with all the peaks and valleys and there were plenty!! We would highly recommend fostering and adopting with EF.

Graham M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Everybody at Extraordinary Families this is dedicated and supportive. Everyone there was born to do that job, and helped us realize our dreams of a family!

Jami R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough great things about Extraordinary Families! Trying to navigate Foster Care by myself was daunting. From the second i connected with this organization I felt supported every step of the way. Because of them my dream of becoming a mother is now a reality. i am forever geateful!!!

Calvin F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Extraordinary Families is an incredible organization that I always highly recommend to any friends that are seeking to grow their family. They help guide you through the foster / adoption process that can be stressful at times. As someone who adopted my two sons through foster care as a single parent, I really appreciated their support during every step of the way. They were an invaluable resource that went above and beyond just hosting certification classes. They took the time to get to know us and were always there to answer questions, guide us to the right resources or just to check in on how we were doing. Their staff is just as extraordinary as the families adopting kids.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We started with another adoption agency that folded right before we got certified. SCFFAA (now Extraordinary Families) took us in and guided us through the next steps of the process. We adopted two children through this agency and can't say enough good things about them. The process can be difficult and emotional, but they were there for us through the ups and downs.

Mark53

Client Served

Rating: 5

The entire team at SCFFAA were all so helpful, supportive and encouraging during our adoption process. And even after the "finalization", continue to be a wonderful support system. Bodhi was placed with us at 3 months old, and now at 4, and in his second year of preschool, it's all still a bit amazing. When he is asleep, we still just look at him and think, "Oh my God, he is so good, so cute." If in the process, hang in there, you're in great hands!

Dave24

Client Served

Rating: 5

What can we say? Thanks to SCFFAA, our family is now complete -- with both a boy and girl (they're wonderful) -- through foster/adoption. The SCFFAA team is compassionate, efficient, and professional. What would appear to be a daunting process is managable if you take it a step at a time with SCFFAA's help. Get started now.