From the Chronicle of Social Change:
Wendy’s Wonderful Kids scales nationally, aiming to find homes for 58,000 foster kids along the way
Back in 2004, there were more than 118,000 kids waiting to be adopted from foster care. Advocates, child welfare professionals and policymakers across the U.S. were desperate for solutions that would land these vulnerable youngsters in the homes of loving, permanent families.
That year, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption came up with a groundbreaking idea to do just that. The foundation was launched in 1992 by Wendy’s restaurant founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted and had long been a supporter of foster care and adoption awareness. Wanting to approach the challenge of finding families for children with a business model, the foundation created Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in 2004.
The newly founded program would focus on recruiting adoptive families for the hardest to place children — those who were older, had a special need or were in a sibling group. The Wendy’s Company has continued to serve as a mainstay of support for the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.
Today, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters can be found in every state and Canada. [The General Authority in Manitoba has a WWK recruiter. Please see the General Authority’s adoption page for more info.] And thanks to a commitment of up to $200-million (U.S.) by a massive funding initiative involving some of the largest charitable foundations in the country, the program will be scaled up in key states, promising to dramatically change the life course of tens of thousands of foster children over the next 12 years.
“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,” said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “With a fully executed plan, not only will nearly 60,000 more children have permanent families, but the child-focused recruitment model will be embedded as ‘business as usual’ for those children and youth most at risk of aging out of care without the family that was promised.”