The Impact of Child-Focused Recruitment on Foster Care Adoption: A Five-Year Evaluation of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (Technical Report: Program Description and Implementation)

ReportChild WelfareOct 1 2011

The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids evaluation is an unprecedented five-year study of the Foundation’s child-focused recruitment model in the United States. The evaluation represents the most rigorous empirical study of adoption recruitment practices to date, providing much-needed information about practices and policies that improve the likelihood of permanent adoption for children in foster care — especially children with whom the child welfare system has had little success using traditional adoption practices. The control group research showed that children in foster care served by the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program are 1.7 times more likely to be adopted than those not served. Older children and those with mental health challenges are 3 times more likely to be adopted when served by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is the only program in the U.S. to use this evidence-based model.

The evaluation used automated random assignment of children into treatment (WWK) and control (non-WWK) groups and administrative data from state child welfare agencies about children in the treatment and control groups. It included more than 1,200 children in 23 states. A qualitative study and interviews with parents and youth were also conducted.