Foundation focused on finding permanent homes for children who have been in foster care the longest
Columbus, Ohio — The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, is proud to announce that more than 1,500 Ohio children who lingered in foster care now have permanent, loving homes, thanks to its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®. This program is implemented in the state of Ohio through a 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 and establishes innovative co-investment partnerships with states to support the hiring of adoption professionals, known as recruiters, who are dedicated to finding forever families for the longest-waiting children in foster care, including guardianships and family reunifications when it is a safe option.
Based on a rigorous, five-year evaluation and a successful pilot, Ohio became the first state to fully expand the program in 2012 — with generous support from The Wendy’s® system and the trust of ODJFS. Ohio’s 83 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters work with smaller caseloads of children, nearly 90% of whom are over the age of eight, and nearly 20% have had six or more placements in the foster care system prior to being referred to the program.
“In just the past two years, Ohio has increased the number of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters in a big way, allowing us to serve even more youth at risk of aging out of foster care,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Ohio led the way for states fully scaling this evidence-based program, changing the journey for more than 1,500 children and counting. With the support of local and state officials and the diligent work of recruiters across Ohio, youth who waited in the system for far too long, like CJ, Ernesto, Nick, Lexi, Kemarquez and Kiondre, have bright futures ahead with the guidance and stability of a forever family.”
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 foster care adoption. “Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, loving, supportive family,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption have dedicated their work to help make this vision a reality for 1,500 of Ohio’s children. I wish them continued success as they continue to provide kids with the resources they need to reach their full potential.”
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.