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Support For Families of Children With Disabilities

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Family Services, Human Services

Mission:

The purpose of Support for Families is to ensure that families of children with any kind of disability or special health care need have the knowledge and support to make informed choices that enhance their children''s development and well being. Through fostering partnership among families, professionals and the community our children can flourish.

Mostof our staff members, volunteers, and board members are, themselves,family members of children with disabilities.

Results: Support for Families services impact large numbers of children and families.  Last year alone:• Family Resource Specialists provided individualized information and support to 778 families and 262 professionals, making more than 5,800 phone, e-mail or in-person contacts. • Support for Families provided 602 workshops, trainings, and clinics on a wide variety of topics based on needs expressed by families. Attendance totaled more than 3,500 parents and professionals. • 149 active volunteer Parent Mentor volunteers provided individualized assistance and outreach in English and Spanish. • More than 380 other volunteers contributed 3,400 hours of services. • 283 (unduplicated) family members and professionals attended one of the 21 Support Groups active last year. Total attendance at our family events exceeded 1,000. They include holiday ice skating, Halloween party, Access to Adventure, museum days, and movie nights. In follow-up surveys more than 90% of families consistently report that the information, education, or support they received from Support for Families helped them feel less isolated, helped them become better advocates for their child, and helped their child receive more appropriate services.

Target demographics: families who have a child with any kind of special need or who have concerns about their child; we also help professionals who work with children and families.

Direct beneficiaries per year: thousands of families and professionals throughout San Francisco. 700-800 families benefit from individual assistance each year; 3,000 families and professionals attend our workshops, trainings, and clinics.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco

Programs: a phone line, drop-in resource center, resource library, toy loan, quarterly newsletter, support groups, parent mentors, workshops and trainings, case management, short-term counseling and referral, Assistive Technology resources, and family social events. All services are free of charge. Assistance in English, Spanish, and Cantonese is available. We also offer information and educational services to professionals and actively collaborate with other organizations to help develop a more coordinated, family-friendly network of services for children and families. In a typical year more than 700 new families will receive intake consultations; thousands more receive help through support groups, workshops, our annual resource conference, the newsletter and website. We are based in San Francisco but also are part of collaborations that serve families throughout California.

Community Stories

99 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been connected to Support for Families since my daughter, who has Down syndrome, was born over 25 years ago. Even longer, actually--knowing of the existence of SFCD helped me know, even before she was born, that my family would not be alone raising her. For the first few years, it was the parent support group that helped immensely, as well as various workshops on different topics. Then I became a parent mentor and developed relationships with other families who were new to the world of raising a child who had Down syndrome. More recently, Support for Families has helped my now-adult daughter recruit students for a dance class that she teaches, by letting us set up information tables at their annual Information and Resource Conference and the annual Access to Adventure in Golden Gate Park. Both of these events offer a wealth of information to families and professionals looking for opportunities and activities for their loved ones or clients. And the workshops I mentioned earlier continue, on topics like IEP's, special needs trusts, housing, health care, etc. Support for Families is an incredible organization that I can't even imagine having lived the past 26 years without.

Comments ( 1 )

Rachel Goldstein Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's wonderful to hear how Support for Families has helped your family for more than quarter of a century, and it's inspiring to know that you are now 'passing it on' as a Parent Mentor. Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Support for families has helped in every aspect of my son's disability. We have received case management,Iep Support (including a case manager attending his Iep),GGRC Support .
This year we went to their Halloween event at Aquarium by the Bay at Pier 39. It was awesome! My 2 year old enjoy it So much. He dressed as batman and ran through the tunnel of sharks and Sting Ray's he was in awe. At the tide pool he was able to pet the sting ray. He also loved the river otters.He was glued to the glass watching them eat and play. We also enjoyed the face painting and temporary tattoo activity. They also had great sensory activities for the children. If it wasn't for support for families we wouldn't be able to attend these type of activities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization, really helping families learn what options they have and putting them in touch with organizations to help their children have more opportunities. Their annual evens with free child care give parents a chance to learn more while knowing their children are being cared for. This kind of focus is so important and not provided enough.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am not a client, but when I am in the area I visit Support for Families. I know people who work and volunteer at Support for Families and I am always so moved by their dedication, optimism and generosity of resources and knowledge. It is a vital program for families and their communities.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Support for Families has been and continues to be such a great resource for our family. Not sure what we would have done without them!

Eileen Boussina

Client Served

Rating: 5

Support for Families has been a lifeline to our family to many others. The scope and breadth of the services they provide is useful and high quality. From education, resources & community, SFF helps families meet the needs of their children. There are many worthy causes out there, this is one most near and dear to our hearts.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

When my husband and I brought our son home from the hospital, I thought that his significant challenges would make my life forever sad. Having a child with delays in development is no walk in the park. I gave up working as an attorney to devote my time to helping him reach his goals. Goals are painstakingly met. It is hard to spend day after day working on simple skills like rolling over, sitting up, holding a bottle, bringing a fork to the mouth, crawling, walking, signing, etc. when weeks so often turn into months. However, when a milestone is reached, the elation that everyone feels is a high like no other. It's a huge cause for celebration in our house.

In order to help our son reach his potential, we had to navigate the world of disability and find all the relevant resources that were available. Through the help of SFCD, we were able to learn about and obtain all supports, resources and therapies available (physical, occupational, speech, vision, amongst several others). And when the time came to transition to preschool then kindergarten and so on, SFCD was highly instrumental in teaching us how to advocate for our son's educational needs, by understanding the law and our rights. I have never met a more competent and professional group of people as I have at SFCD. And I have never met such amazing parents as I have through SFCD. For this I will be forever grateful.

Our son is seven years old now. Our life together is not what I expected, and I would never pass up an opportunity to make things easier for him. But in the meantime, I thank my blessings every day for the progress our sweet little boy has made. He has tremendous motivation and continues to learn and enjoy life. Overall I have reconciled trying to optimize his development as much as possible with just enjoying him as we would any child.

Having support is crucial at all child development stages. I hope you will visit SFCD & then come back often, as we are always adding new information, activities and resources. Discover recreation and family fun at Access to Adventure. Join our bi-monthly group meetings and get connected to our online community where special needs families can meet and share information, stories, questions, concerns & support. Get connected with a parent mentor, or train to become a volunteer parent mentor as I have. Attend our educational workshops and empower yourself with knowledge on relevant topics and of your legal rights. Glance at our website for more information on many other important resources.

It is truly an honor and a privilege to be involved with this great organization. The support I have received is comforting and invaluable.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve volunteered for Support for Families at their Resource Fair, and every time, I’ve been been blown away by the commitment and warmth of the staff. They all work incredibly hard, and from the patient and supportive way they interact with their clients, it’s obvious that they are truly committed to their mission.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Support For Families Of Children With Disabilities is an amazing agency that has helped us immensely as a family of a newly diagnosed girl, all the resources, help and information we receive helps us to face the world in an informed and prepared way to fight for the rights of our children with special needs, we are deeply grateful because this organization exists especially because there are support groups in which as parents we feel like others and it has definitely changed our lives. Thank you Support For Families

Jacy C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Support for Families is a wonderful resource for families, professionals, self advocates and the community at large. They offer trainings, education and programs that are often critical to families navigating the disability field. Through the years I have used them as a resource and referred so many families and community members to them.

Diego V

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a Board member of, a volunteer for and a beneficiary of the services from Support for Families. Support for Families is an amazing organization that serves hundreds of families each year. It provides its services free of charge in multiple languages. The families served benefit, helping kids achieve their potential.

Previous Stories
4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am all a client, a volunteer and a Board member at Support for Families. It is a wonderful organization that helps hundreds of families in the Bay Area each year. All of services to support families of children with disabilities are provided free of charge, most in multiple languages. Support for Families offers information, training, support, social events for this under-served population.

Read more

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter was diagnosed with autism and a severe speech delay over a year ago. Her behavior can be very challenging and getting her the appropriate support is crucial. The staff at Support for Families helped us so much in navigating the different services needed to support her. Support for Families also gave us many opportunities for her to socialize and explore places such as the zoo and the aquarium in a sensory-friendly environment. Thank you, Support for Families.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great organization doing important work helping families with incredibly hard challenges.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization! SFCD provides amazing services to families of children with disabilities, from parental support to educational resources. It's all free of charge and often in multiple languages.

Board Member

Rating: 5

We were referred to Support for Families of Children with Disabilities (SFCD) when our son was about 7 months old and experienced health issues and began missing his milestones. I still remember the day that a parent-mentor named Dorie reached out to me by phone to provide an overview of how SFCD supports communities and lent an ear to answer the questions that were top-of-mind for me at the time about having a child with special needs. Since then, we have participated in the resource fair, received extra language support services and attended Family Activity days through SFCD. I am grateful SFCD is in San Francisco because it provides a support system that broadens our access to community so that our son and family get to experience more of the educational and civic opportunities San Francisco has to offer. There are so many different programs offered in an effort to meet the needs of the spectrum of disabilities and the breadth of communities in San Francisco and Marin counties.

xinagreatnp

Client Served

Rating: 5

Support for Families connected me with the resources I needed to become an effective advocate for my daughter. I learned so much from their workshops, the IRC, parent mentors and professional referrals. With this support, I was able to dramatically raise our school team expectations and her achievement in school. Her life trajectory is completely changed. THANK YOU!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

That you so much for the donation my little girl will appreciate the help this time of year . Riley is my 4 year old daughter with autism she is non verbal , I never knew how hard it would be with a child with autism, Her not being able to talk is the hardest part all I wish for is for my lil girl to be able to have a conversation with me . She is by far the best part of my life I have learned so much from her patience being number 1 I could not have asked for a more precious child , I look at everyone different know and that is because of her I don’t judge as much as I know I did in the past , We want to say thank you for being there for us to help ..

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Support for Families is an absolutely fantastic resource for families, their children, and for professionals. As a board member, I've witnessed the compassion and support from the staff and volunteers at SFCD and how impactful they have been in the community. It's truly a privilege to be able to support this organization!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Support for families is an amazing resource for families of children with disabilities and the professionals who work with the children and their families. As a professional, I often refer families to them. I am honored to be able to give back to SFCD as a board member.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Support For Families for over 20 years and now am on the Board of Directors. SFCD embodies the principles of family strengthening and support, equity and true partnerships with families. SFCD is an institution in San Francisco and has help thousands of families over the years.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family relies on Support for Families for the latest info on the changing landscape of services for children with disabilities. In addition, they provide great training for parents and guardians about how to successfully advocate for your child. The social activities are fun, too!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Support for Families was and continues to be a lifeline to me and my family. When my daughter was first diagnosed with Autism, I was flattened in the early days by the flood of emotions, stress, and sense of loss that comes with such crushing news. Somehow through many of the specialists seen in the early days, a support group run by Support for Families found me, and that is where I caught the lifeline. I don't know where I'd be had I not . I became a parent mentor as soon as I was able, to "give back". They are a top-notch organization run by wonderful human beings. They serve a need in the community, guiding and supporting families through the hills and valleys of raising a child with special needs. Thank you Support for Familes from the bottom of our hearts. The Raymond Family

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SFCD is an organization that I can always go to for information and support. I first find out about it through one of my son's doctor when he was 4 years old. My son is now 26 years old and I can still find information and support for him and all the different needs he has through the different stages in his life! I am sure that we will continue to stay connected with SFCD because of their wonderful support and dedication to understand us families with children with disabilities!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have twin daughters with Autism. Although there are many state agencies and systems, including the public school system, to help us, it has been an overwhelming challenge to find the right agencies and access the services we are entitled to. Even the best agencies only really know about their own work.

That's where Support for Families of Children with Disabilities has come to our rescue. Their Family Resource Specialists have been my sherpa through the maze of organizations and services. They have answered my questions, explained what we are entitled to, and taught me how to advocate for my daughters. It has made a huge difference in their quality of life.

It also makes a huge difference to us knowing that Support for Families are there for us, if we encounter more problems or need further advice.

All their services are free to the client. But I have donated to them in gratitude and found them to be very responsive to their donors.

2

Client Served

Rating: 3

When my daughter was born with so many challenges I tried to live up to her strength and persistence. It was a winding road of obstacles and misinformation. I found Support for Families of Children with Disabilities 22 years ago and they literally saved my family.

My daughter, who is enrolled in college, now volunteers with Support. I am a Parent Mentor. Because I work in a school, my connection to Support is something I am able to pass unto to other families.

Those days when I fought not to cry, could not come up with strength or patience, I would take a deep breath and call Support and I knew I could get the help. They walked me thru the IEP process and held my hand when needed. They always believed in us.

Because we are a Spanish speaking home it was also important that Support was welcoming of our family. I have no doubt when I recommend Support to other families.
They always have an answer or a contact.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Came upon this organization as a client many years ago. New to parenting a child with disability at the time. Used all of the resources available. We did OK and are happy to report we are well and child is having his best semester yet in middle school (Currently all A's and 2 B's)! Happy to report that we are still intimately connected to the organization and are now volunteer parent mentors paying it forward after 10+ years. We still utilize the resources as a client every now and then so it is definitely relevant after passage of time.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is a wealth of information and support! I would not have survived my child's early years without the support networks I established here. Immensely grateful for all of the amazing work that they do, the incredible staff, the professionalism, and that all resources are free to the community!

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love this organization! I have benefited greatly over the years from all of the trainings, support groups, family events, resource fairs and more. Support for Families has made me feel less alone as I struggle to learn more about and deal with my son's multiple disabilities and health issues. I have found the training and information provided about the IEP process and laws to be especially helpful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you so much for the gift cards for Christmas . I have 3 children with disabilities and my husband is also disabled. Unable to work cause of the appointments and sickness all the time. I do the best I can do and love them so much. It is what it is, I don't dwell, life goes on... thank you again. Lisa

Client Served

Rating: 5

I raised a special needs foster child(adopted). Support for Families of Children with Disabilities was so helpful in equipping me with the right information to help in raising her and in my fight to get what she needed from the school district and private counseling. I am now raising that daughter's child. She, too, has special needs. Once again SFCD has been a great help. I give back by volunteering with them. These are dedicated, caring, devoted people who work hard for families and children.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an adoptive mom of a foster child with special needs in the late 80's & 90's. Support for Families of Children with Disabilities helped me with references, information, and referrals. I could not have solved several problems I had getting the proper classroom placement and treatment for my child without them. There is nothing else like this available for families with special needs children. The care, concern and individual attention given are unmatched.
I have been volunteering since my children grew up to give something back to this marvelous organization. My grandchild, who I'm raising, now joins me as a 'side' volunteer.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Before nonprofit i was hopeless. I could not help my son to function with his disability without the knowledge of how to help him. I was very grateful when i apply and got assistant from nonprofit to go for training at the Option Institute to learn how to take care of my Autistic son. I am very thankful. Helping me to attend this training has change my life for a promising future and hope for my son and for this I thank you so much with all my heart.

Regards
Keisha

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I find out when my daughter was 5 she had a hearing problem and today she is 17 and has to wear hearing aids.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Support for Families is there to help parents every step of the way as they learn to support their children with special needs.

3 Tammy78

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SFCD has supports for a very wide range of families and professionals who work with children who have challenges( ie Autism, ADD, ADHD, Intellectual impairments, Traumatic Brain Injury, Orthopedic Impairments, among others). The range of services is also vast. From parent mentors, to support groups, to books and pamphlets, to ra resource fair, to a library of resources to events and movie nights for clients and their kids, to child care for workshops. SFCD is a wonderful support and resource to families with children who have disabilities to those who support and teach them!

Previous Stories
6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love the way SFCD cares about each and every child/adult/family that needs support around someone with a disability. i love their focus on love, support and education. There is no disability that gets more support than another. The range of disabilities supported is amazing. From the most mild to the most severe, every person who comed to SFCD with a need for support, referrals, or education is given the utmost care and respect.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Given that there are so many non-profit organizations out there, I can not begin to tell you how genuinely and truest to their name is Support For Families of Children With Disabilities. Words can not even begin to describe the level of services, supports, and commitments the organization has to the families of these precious children with life and educational challenges. Aside from the free educational workshops, daycare, and programs at the center, Support for Families empowers the parents to be strong advocates for their own children in educational setting and medical services. They empowers the parents to make changes at the State level to laws that need to give voices to our children for the services that they need to be functional and contributive members of society to the best of their ability. They empowers the parents to be educators, leaders, and role models in times when as parents we feel helpless, unsure, ...weak because of the myriad of challenges in raising our own children with disabilities. Support For Families of Children With Disabilities is a non-profit that holds true to their identity. For that, we are deeply greatful.
S.P.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great resource for children and adults with special needs. They have free training with a variety of subjects like behavior training, conservatorship, how to do IEP, alternative strategies, etc. They even provide childcare. They have bilingual staff who speaks Spanish and Cantonese. They coordinate events like picnics, movies, and annual ice skating to mainstream special needs children.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Support for Families had a rep, Mr. Lockett come down and provide assistance and support at my son's IEP meeting. We really appreciated their support as we felt our son's IEP was not being followed and our son was not receiving the support he needed. They are very instrumental in providing info, support and constant workshops that help families that require that extra support with children with different needs. I acknowledge them to be a crucial asset in the community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Support For Families of Children with Disabilities has been an essential support for our family ever since our daughter was diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder when she was 3 months old. She is now 25 and Support For Families has provided guidance and support when we needed vital information about schools, doctors and state agencies. Now that our daughter is out of school we are very grateful that they are sponsoring an AAC conversation club for young adults who use computer devices to communicate. This is a great learning and social opportunity for our daughter who is not eligible for any adult day programs. We never know what challenges each new day will bring but we are very thankful that Support For Families has always been there for us.