How We Help

To advance our mission, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption believes it is not just about building an approach that finds forever homes for the longest-waiting children in foster care. It is about understanding the needs and lived experiences of the children and youth we serve, improving access for families who want to adopt from foster care and building an organization that supports the broader child welfare community in North America.


The Foundation’s strategic priorities and signature programs are grounded in research and created with a racial equity lens. We are committed to nurturing a diverse, inclusive and equitable work environment for our staff, while advocating for measurable change toward racial equity within the child welfare system.


Strategic Priorities Graphic


fund and support

Actively Fund & Support Youth Permanency Efforts

Through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program, we provide funding and establish innovative co-investment partnerships with states to support the hiring of adoption professionals, known as recruiters, who serve children most at risk of aging out of foster care. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters implement an evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model to find the right family for every child in their care.

Break Down Barriers

Break Down Barriers to Achieving Permanency

We break down barriers for families pursuing adoption through programs, such as Adoption-Friendly Workplace. The Foundation encourages employers to provide adoption benefits and offers a toolkit to help develop their policies and shares stories of impact.

Awareness and Resources

Raise Awareness & Promote Resources

We take a collaborative approach to raising awareness of the urgent need for foster care adoption. More than 20 years ago, we co-founded National Adoption Day to encourage courts to open their doors on or around the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year to finalize and celebrate adoptions from foster care, resulting in the adoptions for more than 75,000 children across the U.S. to date. We also conduct research to better understand beliefs about foster care and adoption and educate through public service announcements, social media and free resources that support the adoption journey.

Enhance Policy

Enhance Policy & Provide Targeted Grantmaking Support

We provide national grants in the U.S. that target specialized foster care and adoption communities, post-adoption support and critical child welfare awareness, research and policy enhancements. In addition to funding Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program grants in nearly all 50 states and D.C., the Foundation also awards strategic national grants to adoption agencies and organizations that help to advance its mission.