Public-private partnership will find permanent homes for longest-waiting youth
Columbus, Ohio — The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the state of Alabama are proud to announce a partnership that will find permanent, loving homes for the longest-waiting youth in foster care.
This unique public-private partnership will expand the Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program, which supports the hiring of adoption professionals, known as recruiters, to serve children most at risk of aging out of foster care without additional support services.
“Behind the scenes of every successful adoption is a meticulous search for committed families to provide the lifelong love and support that every child deserves,” said Commissioner Nancy Buckner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the state’s social services agency. “Expanding our long-standing partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption will greatly enhance this recruitment process and help us match even more forever families with children and youth waiting for adoption in Alabama.”
Two Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters are already working in Alabama. Now, five additional recruiters will be hired by the state through the program to serve the number of children waiting in the program’s focus population of teenagers, children with special needs and siblings. The state and the Foundation will continue to evaluate the program and could add more recruiters as needed.
A rigorous, five-year national evaluation comparing Wendy’s Wonderful Kids to business-as-usual in child welfare revealed that a child served by the program is up to 3x more likely to be adopted. Based on this evaluation and a successful expansion pilot of the program, Ohio became the first state to scale Wendy’s Wonderful Kids statewide in 2012.
In 2017, the Foundation launched a multi-year business plan to fully scale the program across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Alabama is joining states that have scaled or are currently scaling, including Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington.
“Wendy’s Wonderful Kids not only changes the life trajectory of tens of thousands of children who have suffered abuse or neglect and countless layers of trauma in their lives, but also has saved hundreds of millions of dollars for states as they move children out of expensive foster care and into permanent homes, said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “We applaud Alabama’s leadership and are thrilled to collaborate toward our shared goal of ensuring that every waiting child has the safe, forever home that is their birthright.”
To date, more than 12,500 children, including 170 youth in Alabama, have been adopted through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids across the United States and Canada.
About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to finding permanent homes for the more than 140,000 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.