Wendy's Wonderful Kids®

Through our signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Foundation supports the hiring of adoption professionals, known as recruiters, who are dedicated to finding permanent families for children in foster care who are most often overlooked. That includes teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters use an evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model to find the right family for every child. A rigorous, five-year national evaluation revealed that children referred to the program are up to 3x more likely to be adopted.

Child-Focused Recruitment Model

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters work with smaller caseloads of 12-15 children to ensure that each child receives the time, resources and support they deserve. They begin their search within a child’s familiar circles of family, friends and neighbors and then reach out to the communities in which they live. Of children currently served by the program in the United States and Canada:

  • 92% are older than age 8
  • 34% have had six or more placements
  • 23% have been in foster care more than four years
  • 85+% had minimal or no adoption recruitment efforts on their behalf before being referred to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids

Find a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids partner agency in your area.

Explore research showing the impact of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and the Foundation’s evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model.

Our Impact

  • In 2004, the Foundation began piloting the program in seven cities across the United States. Based upon the impact of this model, the state of Ohio committed to an innovative public/private partnership to scale Wendy’s Wonderful Kids statewide in 2012.
  • In 2017, the Foundation launched an aggressive, multi-year business plan to expand the reach of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • In phase one of this plan (2017–2020), statewide expansion began in Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington, while continuing to support the hiring of adoption recruiters and build momentum across the nation.
  • In phase two (2021–2026), the Foundation is currently working to deepen and sustain our impact in phase one scaling states and pursue expansion in at least 10 more states in the near term. To date in phase two, new scaling states include Indiana, Mississippi and Alabama.