Commitment Will Fund 24 Wendy's Wonderful Kids Family Recruiters in 13 Upstate Counties.
Albany, NY - January 31, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has awarded the New York State Office of Children and Family Services a $5.1 million grant over four years to hire family recruiters for older children who have spent more than two years in the foster care system. The state will match the grant funds with $4 million to invest a total of $9.1 million to find permanent adoptive families for these children.
"Every child deserves a family who cares for them in a safe and nurturing place to call home," Governor Cuomo said. "Through this partnership, New York will focus on finding permanent homes and devoted families for our children in need, while helping build stronger, more supportive communities across this great state."
Children served under the Wendy's Wonderful Kids program are age 9 and above, have spent at least two years in foster care, and are freed for adoption or another planned living arrangement. This partnership will support the hiring of 24 recruiters to focus entirely on the experiences and needs of these children to help identify appropriate adoptive homes. There are currently no family recruiters working only for this segment of the foster care population in the Upstate New York area. There are 600 children who fall under the program's focus in the targeted counties of Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Erie, Montgomery, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk and Westchester.
The recruiters hired under this grant will join an existing complement of recruiters already working in Steuben, Tompkins, Seneca, Oneida, Oswego, Broome, Delaware, St. Lawrence, Cortland, Niagara, Allegany and Madison Counties. There are also plans for future expansion to cover the entire state.
President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Rita Soronen said, "The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is committed to finding loving, permanent homes for children who are most at risk of aging out of foster care. The Foundation's signature program, Wendy's Wonderful Kids uses an evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model. Children served by this model are up to three times more likely to be adopted, with more than 6,500 children adopted nationally to date. We look forward to a very successful partnership on behalf of the longest waiting children in New York."
Acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "OCFS is excited to partner with Wendy's Wonderful Kids to help children who have been waiting in the foster care system the longest to find their way home. We are grateful to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for this wonderful gift which will enable us to help these children receive the best gift of all - a family of their own."
Senator Tony Avella, Chair of the Children and Families Committee said, "As Chair of the Children and Families Committee, I am grateful to the Dave Thomas Foundation for its generous donation to help New York's waiting children. These funds will increase the number of family recruiters and the counties they cover so we can redouble our efforts to match great kids in foster care with equally great families for successful, permanent adoptions."
Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Children and Families Committee said, "Among my top priorities as Committee Chair is the well-being of children and youth in foster care. I am deeply grateful to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and to Governor Cuomo for providing this much-needed funding to OCFS. It is my hope that we can continue our efforts to secure similar support and expand these critical programs and services to every county across the state, so that our most vulnerable children and youth can find permanent homes with families that will help them build strong, productive lives and contribute to their communities."
About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 140,000 children waiting in North America's foster care systems. Created by Wendy's® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and innovative grant making. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.