More than 500 Children Adopted Through Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada Program

Posted on March 14, 2022

The Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids™ program serves youth most at risk of aging out of foster care without a permanent family

Burlington, ON — The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada is proud to announce that its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, in partnership with provincial governments, Ontario Children’s Aid Societies, adoption agencies and adoption professionals, has helped find permanent homes for more than 500 children in Canada since 2006. 

Through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Foundation provides grants to adoption agencies to support the hiring of adoption professionals, known as recruiters, who are dedicated to finding forever families for the hardest-to-place youth in foster care: teenagers, children with special needs and siblings. These recruiters work with smaller caseloads of children to ensure every child receives the time, resources and support they deserve.

In 2016, the Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services officially launched a three-year commitment to scale Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in coordination with Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario. To date, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters have found permanent homes for 548 children across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Ontario, and another 46 children are in their pre-adoptive placements.

“Wendy’s Wonderful Kids began as a belief that we could ― and must ― do better for children lingering in foster care,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada. “I am so proud of the dedicated service that our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters offer to children in their care and grateful to our supporters for helping us to serve more children who are far too often overlooked. It is up to all of us to ensure that every waiting child has the safe, loving and permanent home that is their birthright.

“The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is making a life-changing difference for our nation’s most vulnerable children in foster care,” said Paul Hilder, chair of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada’s board of directors and Senior Vice President, Managing Director for Wendy’s Restaurants of Canada. “I am thrilled to celebrate that more than 500 children who experienced years of uncertainty in foster care can now have a brighter future, with the support of a loving family who they know will always be there.”

Of the youth currently being served by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in Canada:

  • 12 is the average age
  • 54% are part of a minority group
  • 82% have at least one special need
  • 84% are part of a sibling group
  • 90% had minimal or no adoption recruitment efforts on their behalf, prior to being referred to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids

Nathaniel is one of these youth. After spending 13 years in foster care, Nathaniel was adopted in 2016 with support from the Foundation and his Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, Kirsty. “You know you’re safe when you feel loved … when your parents feed you … when they treat you well,” says Nathaniel. “When [my family] tells me they love me, I get a nice, warm feeling in my heart. It makes me feel like I belong here.” Watch Nathaniel’s story.

About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada is a nonprofit public charity dedicated to finding permanent homes for the more than 30,000 children waiting in Canada’s foster care system. 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 grant-making. Learn more at or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.

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