Public-private partnership will find adoptive families for longest-waiting youth

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the State of Alabama are proud to announce a partnership that will lead to more adoptions of 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.

“Behind the scenes of every successful adoption is a meticulous search for committed families to provide the lifelong love and support that every child deserves,” said Commissioner Nancy Buckner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the state’s social services agency. “Expanding our long-standing partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption will greatly enhance this recruitment process and help us match even more forever families with children and youth waiting for adoption in Alabama.”

Two Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters are already working in the State of Alabama. Now, five additional recruiters will be hired by the state through the program. Both the state and the Foundation will continue to evaluate the program and could add more recruiters during the five-year contract.

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. Alabama is joining previously scaled states, including Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington.

“The partnership with Alabama is another piece to the puzzle of our national scaling effort,” said Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Our team is connecting with state officials throughout the United States to expand our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, and every time we have a state excited to serve more youth waiting in foster care, we are thrilled to partner with them. The bottom line is that we must ensure that every child gets the family that they deserve. And we applaud Alabama’s commitment to that vision.”

To date, more than 12,000 children across the United States, including 170 youth in Alabama have been adopted through the Foundation’s program.

Alabama families and individuals interested in adoption or foster care are encouraged to call 866-4AL-KIDS (866-425-5437) or to email Additional information is available at