Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® in Canada

The Foundation works every day to make “unadoptable” unacceptable.

To date, more than 300 children have been adopted through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program.

Research from a five-year evaluation of the U.S. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids
shows that children served by the program are up to
three times more likely to be adopted.

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada provides funds to public and private adoption agencies to hire adoption professionals who implement the Foundation’s proactive Child-Focused Recruitment Model targeted exclusively on moving Canada’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families.

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiters

Our recruiters work with smaller caseloads of children most at risk of aging out of the system, ensuring they have the time and resources to give each child as much attention as he or she deserves. These professionals are determined and relentless, using proven tactics focused on finding the best home for a child through the starting points of familiar circles of family, friends and neighbors and then reaching out to the communities in which they live.

The Foundation supports more than 30 recruiters in Canada working for children through Wendy’s Wonderful. The program has found hundreds of forever families for children waiting to be adopted. Click here to find a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids partner agency near you.

Learn more about how the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada makes Unadoptable Unacceptable

Our Children

The children served by the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program are typically those who have been waiting the longest for an adoptive family. By the time they are referred to a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter:

  • 79% are older than age 8
  • 13% have had six or more placements
  • 61% have been in foster care more than four years

Some have never had anyone advocate for them to be adopted and have simply been on a track to age out of foster care at age 18 or 21 without the security and love of a permanent family.

Our Research

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® Evaluation

The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Evaluation is an unprecedented five-year study of the Foundation’s Child-Focused Recruitment Model in the U.S. foster care system. This evaluation represents the most rigorous empirical study of adoption recruitment practices to date, providing much-needed information about practices and policies that improve the likelihood of permanent adoption for children in foster care – especially children with whom the child welfare system has had little success using traditional adoption practices. The control group research showed that children in foster care served by the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruitment program are 1.7 times more likely to be adopted than those not served. Older children and those with mental health challenges are 3 times more likely to be adopted when served by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is the only program in the U.S. to use this Child-Focused Recruitment Model.

The evaluation used automated random assignment of children into treatment (WWK) and control (non-WWK) groups, and administrative data from state child welfare agencies about children in the treatment and control groups. It included more than 1,200 children in 23 U.S. states. A qualitative study and interviews with parents and youth were also conducted. Please use the links below to read the full results.

Our Surveys

2017 Foster Care Attitudes Survey

For the first time in 2017, the Foundation measured Canadians’ attitudes about foster care. Here are those findings.


Past Surveys:


Urban Institute from Awareness to Action: DTFA Philanthropic Strategy

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s philanthropic strategy provides a case study of how the private and public sectors can work together successfully to develop innovative solutions to major social issues. Download the 2010 report.

Click here to find the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids partner agency near you.

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