Message from the Board of Directors
SCFFAA is now ExtraordinaryFamilies. Please visit our new website www.extraordinaryfamilies.org to learn more.
As you may know, our beloved founder Sylvia Fogelman is retiring after twenty years of growing the agency. Over the past months, we have been evaluating a merger with Child Welfare Initiative (CWI), an organization focused on improving the lives of children and families in the child welfare system. Its Executive Director, Andrew Bridge, you may recall was honored at our 20th Anniversary celebration earlier this year for his lifelong dedication to improving the lives of children in foster care.
Combining the work of these two complementary organizations would enhance our ability to improve outcomes and better the lives of the children we serve.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am very pleased to announce that we have asked Andrew to lead our organization through this exciting transition. Andrew is uniquely suited to do this and we are gratified to have the benefit of Sylvia’s guidance for a smooth transition.
Having attended Wesleyan University, Andrew graduated from Harvard Law School, and is a former Fulbright Scholar and Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident. He began his legal career representing children in Alabama state psychiatric hospitals and mental health facilities.
Andrew later returned to the system that raised him and became Executive Director of the Alliance for Children’s Rights in Los Angeles, where he worked to expand free legal services to children in foster care and in poverty. There, he played a critical role in streamlining foster children’s adoptions and establishing National Adoption Day, along with improving foster children’s access to medical care, and ensuring their right to see and speak regularly with a social worker. Andrew also spent time as the Managing Director of Child Welfare Reform at The Broad Foundation.
Always advocating for foster children’s educational opportunities, Andrew was a founding director of the New Village School, which focuses on the needs of girls both in foster care and in impoverished Los Angeles communities. Further, he is a trustee of the St. Anne’s Home for pregnant and parenting teens. His book, Hope’s Boy, a memoir about his young mother’s struggle with mental illness and his childhood in foster care, was a New York Times Bestseller, Washington Post Book of the Year, Los Angeles Times Discovery Book, and People Magazine Critic’s Choice Book.
As Founder and CEO, Sylvia built SCFFAA into a highly respected organization in the community, helping hundreds of children throughout the Southland over the past twenty years. Under her guidance, the agency has successfully helped 45% of the children in its care to return to their birth families and almost 50% of the children to be adopted into nurturing families. Sylvia and her team have built SCFFAA into the primary foster/adopt agency for the LGBT community and, in 2009, SCFFAA received the “All Children-All Families” seal (the second one to be awarded nationally) from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, recognizing the agency as a leader in supporting and serving LGBT families. Her concern for the well-being of the agency’s youth who were not returned to a birth family or adopted led to the implementation of the Youth in Transition Program, working directly with the young adults who have no safety net for support as they gain their independence. This program has grown successfully and includes an ongoing co-mentor program and intern program for 65 young adults.
Please join us in welcoming Andrew to SCFFAA and in thanking and congratulating Sylvia on a job well done!
David Placier, Chair