In 2003, we began the journey of designing and implementing a model recruitment program that could work for every child waiting to be adopted from foster care – not just some of the children waiting to be adopted, but each and every one of them. At the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, we simply decided to take personally the system failures that tolerated any child being labeled “unadoptable,” or that allowed tens of thousands of children to age out of care. Not anymore, and not on our watch.
But there was no long term rigorous evaluation of existing recruitment practices to guide us. So we not only created an intensive, child-focused recruitment model that addresses the individual needs and experiences of children, but we committed to a national evaluation of the program.
And today, as we share with everyone who cares about children the results of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids National Evaluation, we are excited and humbled. In summary it works, and it’s time for everyone to get on board.
Children served across North America by the 122 amazing Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters supported by grants from the Foundation using an evidence-based child focused model are 1.7 times more likely to be adopted. It gets better – older children and children with mental health disorders are up to three times more likely to be adopted.
If every one of the 107,000 children waiting to be adopted last year had the opportunity to be on the caseload of a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, 37,000 more children would have been adopted. So we are more committed than ever to increasing our resources and partnerships to take the program to scale, to encouraging evidence-based activities when designing programs for children, and to insisting that “unadoptable” is unacceptable.
Please join us on this continuing journey. Take a moment and watch this video, read the research on our website and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Help us make unadoptable unacceptable, once and for all.