Yesterday, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption announced the fifth annual 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list recognizing organizations nationwide for their adoption benefits. The Wendy's Company is No. 1 on this year's list, with a combination of up to $24,300 in adoption assistance and up to six weeks of paid adoption leave.
"This is one of the highest honors our company can receive," said David Karam, president, North America, of The Wendy's Company. "Dave Thomas was passionate for the cause of adoption, and he personally contacted hundreds of companies asking them to extend adoption benefits to employees. We're extremely proud to follow his lead and help our employees realize the joys of adoption."
Wendy's employee Brenda Overturf has used the adoption benefit twice. Overturf and her husband adopted two children from U.S. foster care eight years ago, when the siblings were 9 and 10 years old. This year, they fell in love with three more siblings waiting in foster care, and will finalize their adoptions in a few months.
"Our children always wanted more brothers and sisters, and my husband and I were moved to help older children who might age out of foster care and be left on their own," Overturf said. "Adopting from foster care is affordable, so we did not use Wendy's financial benefit, but the six weeks of paid leave was invaluable. We needed the time to get to know our kids as individuals, and to prepare them for school."
Rankings for the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List are determined by an analysis of a company's adoption benefits available to employees who adopt, such as financial reimbursement and paid leave. The Foundation compiled the results from its annual survey of U.S. employers and partnered with Employee Benefit News, a SourceMedia publication that is the leading source of information for benefits decision makers, to announce the winners.
The caliber of benefits offered by employers has changed dramatically since the Foundation began announcing the list five years ago. In 2007, an employer offering up to $10,000 and two weeks of paid leave for adoption was ranked in the nation's top 10. Today, that employer would be tied for 34th place. Five years ago, an employer offering up to $5,000 and six weeks of paid leave for adoption made the top half of the list at number 49. Today, that employer would just make the cut-off for the top 100.
The average financial reimbursement for all Foundation survey participants is $5,000 and the average paid leave offering is six weeks. Nearly half of the participants also offer unpaid leave beyond that required by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), ranging from one week to one year.
There are more than 107,000 children in U.S. foster care waiting to be adopted. Every year, nearly 28,000 children in foster care turn 18 and leave the system without families to call their own. The release of the fifth annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List helps the Foundation increase foster care adoption awareness while celebrating those businesses that support adoptive families.
"Whether the child is a 12-year-old victim of child abuse and neglect who has spent years in U.S. foster care, a toddler who has been living in a foreign orphanage, or a newborn from a domestic adoption, it is critical for every child to have the opportunity to adjust and thrive in his or her adoptive home," said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Foundation. "This is why employer support of adoption and family-friendly work environments are so crucial."
In addition to ranking the top 100, the Foundation also recognized the top 10 companies by size and the leaders of each industry. To view all of the honorees, visit davethomasfoundation.org or adoptionfriendlyworkplace.org.
(Editor's note: The Foundation is not an affiliate of The Wendy's Company.)
About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is America's only nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the 107,000 children waiting in foster care to be adopted. Created by Wendy's® founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation implements results-driven national signature programs, foster care adoption awareness initiatives and research-based advocacy efforts. To learn more, visit www.davethomasfoundation.org or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.
SOURCE Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption