(Media release from the Georgia Department of Human Services):
The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption are proud to announce a partnership that will lead to more adoptions of the longest-waiting youth waiting in foster care.
This unique public-private partnership will expand the Foundation’s signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®, which supports the hiring of adoption professionals to serve children at risk of aging out of foster care without a family, including teenagers, children with special needs, and siblings.
“All children deserve to be a part of loving, lifelong families, and the state of Georgia is dedicated to finding permanent homes for every toddler, teen, and sibling group in our foster care system,” said Candice Broce, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services. “Expanding our partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption will help us enhance our adoption recruitment process and continue to make a positive difference in the lives of the children we serve.”
Six Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters are currently working in Georgia, and four additional recruiters will be hired by one of the state’s foster care adoption partners, Bethany Christian Services. Both DHS and the Foundation will continue to evaluate the program and could add more recruiters in a year.
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. Georgia is joining states that have scaled or are currently scaling, including Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington.
“Right now, more than 113,000 children are waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Partnerships like the one we have with the state of Georgia are paramount to finding every waiting child the permanent, loving home they deserve. It is their birthright, and the Foundation will not stop until we find the right family for each child.”
To date, more than 12,500 children across the United States, including 297 youth in Georgia, have been adopted through the Foundation’s program.