Columbus, Ohio — The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, is proud to announce that more than 500 children have been adopted from foster care in Kentucky through its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®, in partnership with the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services and adoption professionals across the state.
Through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Foundation provides funding and establishes innovative co-investment partnerships with states to hire adoption recruiters who implement an evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model. A rigorous, five-year national evaluation by Washington, D.C.-based Child Trends revealed that the model is up to three times more effective at finding permanent homes for youth in foster care who are often overlooked, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.
In 2017, the Foundation launched an aggressive 12-year business plan to expand Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Kentucky was one of the first states to fully scale the program, increasing the number of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters from five to 60 statewide to serve children in our focus population. These recruiters work with smaller caseloads of children, nearly 90% of whom are over the age of eight, and more than one-third of whom have had six or more placements in foster care before being referred to the program.
“We are so grateful for the partnership and unwavering commitment of public officials and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption professionals across Kentucky in finding forever families for children in foster care who need our help now, more than ever,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Congratulations to all involved in reaching this important milestone. Together, we will give more youth in foster care the foundation for a brighter future.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says reaching this landmark number of adoptions in his state is especially encouraging as the COVID-19 pandemic creates even more instability and uncertainty for children in foster care. “We are so pleased that Kentucky reached the milestone of 500 adoptions through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids,” Beshear said. “This demonstrates that even during this challenge of our lifetime, so many families continue to open their hearts and their homes to vulnerable children and give them a forever family.”
Korie is one of the more than 500 young people who now have a loving, forever home thanks to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program in Kentucky. Placed in foster care at age 3, Korie moved in and out of more than 30 foster homes before she was 16. “I thought, ‘I’m going to end up on the streets. That’s just how it’s going to be,’” she recalls.
Fortunately, Korie’s journey changed when she was adopted with support from her Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, Courtney. Surrounded by her new family, Korie excelled in school and is attending college on a full scholarship. “It’s a chance at life,” says Korie. “It’s really difficult to wonder how you are going to make it. I’m not going to have that problem now…because I have a family.”
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 150,000 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. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org.