Dave Thomas Foundation selects The Villages to partner and expand Wendy’s Wonderful Kids
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, is proud to announce an expansion of its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®, to find adoptive homes for children in Indiana’s foster care system. This unique public-private partnership between the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS), the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and The Villages of Indiana will fund adoption professionals to serve children and youth at risk of aging out of foster care without a family, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings. Over the next three years, the number of recruiters will grow from 4 to 30.
“Every child, no matter their age, deserves the love of a family. We never want to see children waiting to feel that love and the stability a family provides,” said Shannon Schumacher, President and CEO of The Villages. “Through the generosity of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and our partnership with DCS, our dynamic team of adoption professionals will have staffing resources across the state to support older children and youth to be adopted. Team members will work with the people most connected to these foster youth with a goal to find a safe, loving and caring home. The Villages team has done a tremendous job growing partnerships with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and DCS, so we can all positively impact youth and families in our state.”
“We have a long and successful history working with The Villages, which has been implementing our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program for the past 14 years,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “We look forward to expanding this program statewide to ensure that there are enough adoption professionals to serve Indiana’s most vulnerable youth waiting in foster care, who need the security and support of a permanent family, now more than ever.”
A rigorous, five-year national evaluation revealed that a child referred to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is up to three times more likely to be adopted. Based on this evaluation and a successful expansion pilot of the program, Ohio became the first state to scale Wendy’s Wonderful Kids statewide in 2012. In 2017, the Foundation launched an aggressive business plan to fully scale the program across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Indiana is the first state to expand in phase two of the Foundation’s multi-year plan, joining previously scaled states, including Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington.
To date, the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program has found adoptive homes for more than 10,000 children across the United States, including 160 youth in Indiana.
“Wendy’s Wonderful Kids has already made an incredible impact in Indiana,” DCS Director Terry Stigdon said. “Every child deserves a family. Every child needs love. Expanding this partnership and program will help make it possible for every child to find their forever family. By continuing to work together, we will find safe, loving homes for even more of our children.”