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Dave Thomas Foundation Celebrates Adoption Milestone During COVID-19

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The Dave Thomas Foundation recently celebrated its 10,000th adoption of a child from foster care and the milestone was reached during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Foundation was created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas as an independent non-profit foundation separate from the restaurant chain, says Rita Soronen, CEO of the Foundation.

The Foundation focuses on the adoption of children who have been in foster care the longest and those who might soon turn 18 without being adopted by a family.

It works with its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program which partners with private and public adoption agencies to fund specially trained adoption recruiters. These recruiters work specifically to find adoptive homes for teenagers, children with special needs, and siblings who have been in foster care the longest, according to Soronen.

The Dave Thomas Foundation tries to find adoptive homes for children before they “age-out” of foster care – turn 18 or 21 years of age depending on the state. The Foundation understands that if a child ages-out of foster care they are more likely to be homeless, unemployed, and face a myriad of other issues.

The Foundation also has been urging states to put moratoria on youth’s aging-out of the system during the COVID pandemic, says Soronen. To date, through Soronen’s efforts, the Foundation has convinced 9 states and the District of Columbia to enact such moratoria.

The COVID-19 crisis has presented special problems for the Foundation’s work, but it has successfully pivoted to find ways of continuing its adoption efforts even through pandemic isolation.

The Foundation was recently highlighted by the “New York Times” for its pandemic efforts.