Since ExtraordinaryFamilies’ merger of The Child Welfare Initiative and The Southern California Foster Family & Adoption Agency, we are pleased to report that our work over the past 18 months has produced an extraordinary success. Our Boards of Directors, staffs, and operations are a single team that has already achieved successes beyond those that either organization had achieved previously on its own.
ExtraordinaryFamilies is now providing more children in foster care with foster and adoptive families than we have at any point in our history – nearly 30% more children than one year ago. We have opened a Long Beach office to recruit additional foster families and to expand our employment work with older foster youth in that community. Our new initiative to recruit foster families for foster teens is succeeding; and in the coming months, we expect that nearly 20% of all our foster families will be specifically for foster teens. We have connected hundreds of foster teens and young adults with jobs and employment training in our partnerships with the public employment and child welfare systems, child welfare providers, and advocacy organizations. Throughout we have been fortunate to have the philanthropic community at our side, and since our work to merge our organizations began, we have received nearly $2 million in private support.
Most recently, ExtraordinaryFamilies received another opportunity to improve the lives of children in child welfare systems. The State of Illinois Department of Children & Family Services has asked us to develop its statewide innovation effort to reform and implement policy and practice changes to foster care services to children, establish measures for children’s quality of care, and create a sustainable model to allow foster children to live in their communities. Our work marks the expansion of ExtraordinaryFamilies to an agency with a national reach and reputation.
The State of Illinois has requested that Andrew specifically take responsibility for leading this work on behalf of ExtraordinaryFamilies. Therefore, Andrew will take on a new role at ExtraordinaryFamilies as Chief Policy Officer. He will continue as Chief Executive Officer while the search for a successor is undertaken. We are honored by the confidence and trust that the State of Illinois has shown in our work and in Andrew to reform the policies, practices, and programs of child welfare on the national stage.Even more, we are excited about the growth and promise that lies ahead for our ExtraordinaryFamilies team, and for the children and families we serve.
Juliet Musso, Chairperson/Board of Directors
Andrew Bridge Chief Executive Officer/Chief Policy Officer