Wendy's Wonderful Kids®

Through our signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Foundation funds adoption professionals, known as recruiters, who use a child-focused model to find permanent homes for children in foster care.

Independent research has proven the model to be up to 3x more effective at serving children who have been in foster care the longest, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.

Child-Focused Recruitment Model

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters work with smaller caseloads of children, ensuring they have the time and resources to give each child as much attention as he or she deserves. By the time these children are referred to a recruiter:

  • 90% are older than age 8
  • 33% have had six or more placements
  • 52% have been in foster care more than four years

Dedicated to finding the right home for every child, adoption recruiters 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.

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. Based upon the impact of this model, the state of Ohio committed to an innovative public/private partnership with the Foundation to scale Wendy’s Wonderful Kids statewide in 2012.
  • In 2017, the Foundation launched an ambitious 12-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), the program expanded statewide in Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington, while continuing to hire more adoption recruiters and build momentum across the nation.


“Taking Wendy’s Wonderful Kids to scale in all 50 states and D.C. by 2028 is an ambitious plan, but one that is based on more than a decade of measured development and growth.”   

— Rita Soronen, President & CEO