What is Wendy's Wonderful Kids?

Posted on November 11, 2019


Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s restaurants, was adopted as a child. That life experience sparked his passion for being an adoption advocate and led to the development of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK), the signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

The WWK program partners with agencies in every US state and in Canada. In South Dakota, Children’s Home Society is the WWK partner agency. We have offices in Rapid City and in Sioux Falls.

WWK Core beliefs:

  • Every child deserves a safe, loving, and permanent family.
  • No child should linger in foster care or leave the system without a permanent family.
  • Every child is ADOPTABLE.

WWK Adoption Recruiters specifically focus on finding permanent homes for children who are in Foster Care and are waiting for an adoptive family. Recruiters use an evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model and are dedicated to finding the best adoptive home for each child or sibling group. They start with familiar circles of family, friends, and neighbors and then reach out to the communities in which the child lives.

According to an independent five-year study conducted by Child Trends, the WWK model is up to three times more effective at serving children who have been in Foster Care the longest, including teenagers, sibling groups, and children with special needs.

Throughout the US and Canada, there are currently over 475 WWK Adoption Recruiters who have facilitated over 9000 adoptions since the program started in 2004. CHS first partnered with the Dave Thomas Foundation in 2009. Since then, there have been 94 adoption or guardianship finalizations for South Dakota children.

In 2019, our WWK Adoption Recruiters worked with 64 children. Fifteen pre-adoptive matches were made and 7 adoptions were finalized. We are excited for the potential in 2020 of helping even more children find permanent families as this program continues to grow.

Find more information on Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and The Dave Thomas Foundation here:


Learn more about a few of the South Dakota kids who are eligible for adoption!

Meet the Kids