Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s panel of experts recommend public-private funding

Posted on February 11, 2013

Contact: Staci Perkins
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications


Initiative to scale child-focused recruitment model to increase foster care adoptions

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A national group of leaders in the areas of philanthropy, child welfare, human services, branding, adoption, health care, media, public affairs, higher education, business and government released recommendations to boost the number of adoptions from foster care in the United States.

The panel was formed by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to gain insight from accomplished thought leaders about how to scale its successful child-based recruitment model, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK). Since its inception in 2004, WWK has helped thousands of children find permanent, loving families.

The panel met in Washington, D.C., and identified recommendations related to funding, communication, and policy that would help the more than 100,000 waiting children in U.S. foster care.

The group believes that the Foundation is uniquely positioned to leverage its voice, credibility, and its evidence-based practices to change the landscape of foster care adoption. But they also understand that the journey will not be easy. They encourage the Foundation to be robust in its communication and outreach efforts to secure the proper resources to scale child-focused recruitment.

Key recommendations include:

  • Continue to leverage and expand the successful partnership with The Wendy’s Company;
  • Aggressively pursue public funding from federal and state levels;
  • Educate child welfare professionals about WWK and the benefits of adoption;
  • Expand outreach beyond current stakeholder groups; and
  • Develop and implement intensive “road show” campaign targeting top influencers.

“We know WWK works, and now we have confirmation and insight from national leaders about how to significantly expand the model to increase adoptions from foster care,” said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Foundation. “We are incredibly grateful to this group of people with brilliant minds and hearts for lending their expertise. We will work tirelessly to pursue these recommendations.”

Members of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Distinguished Panel of Experts include:

MaryLee Allen
Director of Child Welfare and Mental Health
Children’s Defense Fund

Robert W. Block, MD, FAAP
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine in Tulsa
American Academy of Pediatrics

Carol Emig
President & CEO
Child Trends

Rob Geen
Director, Family Services and Systems Policy, Research and Communications
The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Kathy Postel Kretman, Ph.D.
Director & Research Professor
Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership
Georgetown University

Senator Mary Landrieu
(D) Louisiana
United States Senate

Jim Margolis
Founding Partner

DTFA Executive:
Rita L. Soronen
President & CEO
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Ann T. Gallagher
Gallagher Consulting Group

Download a copy of the complete recommendations report.

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About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 134,000 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 signature programs, foster care adoption awareness initiatives and research-based advocacy efforts. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org, or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.


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