The deposition and characterization of high quality ferrite thin films by the alternating target laser ablation deposition (ATLAD) technique is discussed with the emphasis on the unique magnetic properties induced in these materials by stabilizing far from equilibrium cation distributions. Two spinel systems and three hexagonal ferrite systems are studied. In the case of manganese spinel ferrite a large in-plane uniaxial anisotropy field ( > 5 kOe) is induced in ATLAD deposited films. In the case of copper spinel ferrite a 65% enhancement in the saturation magnetization is observed over the bulk value. In the case of manganese substituted barium ferrite a 12-22% enhancement in low temperature saturation magnetization and 40-60 K increase in the Neel temperature is observed. The unique magnetic properties of the films are correlated with the cation distributions stabilized by the application of the ATLAD technique as determined by the extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) analysis.