Program has saved Ohio taxpayers more than $64 million by moving longest-waiting children out of foster care into loving, permanent homes
Columbus, Ohio — The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, is proud to announce that more than 1,000 children have been adopted from foster care in Ohio through its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and adoption professionals across the state.
Through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Foundation provides funding to adoption agencies to hire recruiters who are focused exclusively on finding forever families for children who have been waiting in foster care the longest. A rigorous, five-year national evaluation by Washington, D.C.-based Child Trends revealed that a child referred to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is up to three times more likely to be adopted, especially teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.
Based on this evaluation and a successful pilot of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Ohio became the first state to commit to an innovative public-private partnership to expand the program statewide in 2012 — with generous support from The Wendy’s® system. Ohio’s 56 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters work with smaller caseloads of children, nearly 90% of whom are over the age of eight, and more than one-third have had six or more placements in the foster care system prior to being referred to the program.
“We are grateful for the committed partnership of ODJFS, the support of local and state officials and the diligent work of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters across Ohio in reaching this important milestone,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “The state of Ohio helped lead the way in expanding this evidence-based, child-focused approach to serving children in foster care who are often overlooked. Together, we will work to find safe, loving and permanent families for the more than 3,000 children still waiting to be adopted from foster care in Ohio.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who has made serving children in foster care one of his Administration’s top priorities, praised the Foundation’s work in addressing the urgent need for permanent families. “We celebrate that more than 1,000 children are now in loving, adoptive homes, but we are saddened by the circumstances that required they be placed in foster care,” said Governor DeWine. “The state of Ohio is proud to partner with the Foundation and commends their commitment to finding a family for every waiting child.”
About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 155,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and innovative grantmaking. The Foundation is proud to be the signature cause of The Wendy’s Company. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org.