The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, is proud to announce that its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®, has helped to find adoptive homes for more than 10,000 children in foster care across the United States and Canada since 2004, including nearly 7,300 since scaling in states began in 2012.
Every year, tens of thousands of youth age out of foster care with no permanent family and no safety net. Before the COVID-19 crisis, one in five youth who aged out experienced homelessness and only 50% were employed at age 24. Now, many are also navigating this deadly pandemic and a challenging economy — alone.
Through a grant from the Dave Thomas Foundation, Spaulding is funded to support the work of two adoption professionals, called WWK recruiters, who are dedicated to finding forever families for the hardest-to-place youth in foster care: teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.
As we celebrate the heartwarming milestone, one of the Spaulding WWK recruiters, Kate Pogany, shared the positive impact of the Wendy's Wonderful Kids program on Markell, a young man in need of a permanent family. Kate had sufficient information to determine that Markell’s needs could be adequately addressed by Carole’s family and worked to introduce Carole to Markell. Markell had been placed with Carole’s family in December 2018 and the adoption was finalized in October 2020.
Kate has been working with Markell for 5 years and he had been placed in foster care at age 6. He moved around a great deal between foster homes and was separated from his sister and half-brother in the process. When he met Carole her previously adopted children were grown and living independently.
When asked what were some of the best things about being adopted, Markell will tell you – no more moving and changing schools and having to meet new people over and over. He also loves having the freedom now to travel to other states. Markell is an 8th grade student and his favorite subject in school is social studies.
Coincidentally (or not) Markell's new mom, Carole, is a social studies teacher. Markell plays basketball and works at a bike store. And he said he’d love if his family would continue to grow!
Social Media Tools & Traps Recap
“I feel like I am failing as a parent because I do not have the knowledge regarding social media that would keep my children safe. The idea that my children could be at risk because I did not do enough to protect them scares me.”
Spaulding for Children has created a special page with resources and important information from our Feb. 18 webinar: Understanding Social Media Tools and Traps: Empowering Families to Navigate the Virtual World.
At the page, you'll find links to
Resource List -- Find resources to help answer questions about social media and families.
Video Link -- Archived copy of webinar (about 2 hours long).
The resources and video are free and accessible to supporters and members of the Spaulding community.
The webinar was presented by Spaulding for Children, Detroit PAL - Police Athletic League, and LifeChurch Auburn Hills. The webinar was sponsored by HAP - Health Alliance Plan of Michigan.
LYFT Grant Helps Us Help Our Families
Through a generous grant from LYFT, the ride sharing service, Spaulding has been able to provide services to clients in the following ways:
Provide clients with rides for services needed for their kids to return home.
Use Lyft to get kids to appointments for mental health services.
Provide transportation to parents coming to the agency, in particular one parent who was unable to use public transportation. Without Lyft, she would not have had the resources to get to the agency for her visit. Her children were returned to her care and this success was in part because of the consistent transportation from Lyft for her to get to services and to the agency to visit with her children.
Thank you, Lyft! Your support helps us serve children and families.
The Truth About Vaccination
COVID Vaccines Protect You and Others
As supplies grow, when and where to get your COVID-19 vaccination is becoming more of a personal decision. The important thing to remember is Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.'s top medical advisor on the COVID pandemic, said: the vaccines are safe and effective protection from the deadly disease.
We salute those who have stepped up to get vaccinated and hope everyone continues to take the still necessary precautions with masks, social distancing and good hygiene as we work through the national emergency.
Members of Spaulding staff who have received the vaccine reported:
"I didn’t really think not to get the shots. I researched them a little bit and felt it would protect me and my family." – Jen
"I opted to obtain the vaccine for several reasons including to protect others around me as well as myself, I feel as though the more people that receive the vaccine will allow the world to return back to normal, and after completing my own research and consulting with doctors I felt it was safe even though the vaccine is new." – Kelly
"I swore to myself I would never take the vaccination because of past medical testing on African Americans. However, after speaking with my doctor and several friends in my age bracket (late 60’s), and they themselves took the vaccination, I decided to get vaccinated. I would advise anyone who may be hesitant, to speak with their doctor and upon their recommendation, take the shot. We cannot get back to where we were, if we don’t all try to do our part." – Sylvia
"My experience in signing up was flawless, and my experiences after receiving both shots did not result in any side effects. I am proud to have been a willing recipient, and to make the world a better place by this simple act." – Veronica
Links to Schedule a COVID-19 Vaccination
in the Tri-County Area
To better support today’s adoption and guardianship families, it is important to understand service availability as well as service delivery systems. QIC-AG hosts a webinar on their continuum assessment.
StoryTime with Miss Katies Turns 1
During National Reading Month
March 30 marks the one year anniversary of our online program, StoryTime with Miss Katie. Each Sunday at 7 p.m. Miss Katie Ward reads a book on Facebook LIVE. Katie’s children, Lily and Henry, will often join in and share in the reading.
“There are many studies that show the correlation between reading stories at home and a child’s success at school,” Miss Katie said. “But studies can’t tell us how a story can light up a child’s face. Studies can’t tell us how our children relate to stories and characters. Studies can’t show how stories inspire our children to do great things and be good people.”
Katie Ward is an Adoption/Foster Care/Licensing Specialist with Spaulding.
Generous donors have helped us create a drawing each month where one viewer receives a set of the month’s books.
Please reach out to Cheryl Gist, Executive Assistant, if you would like to donate books for Story Time with Miss Katie at email@example.com.
Whatever form your celebration takes, please enjoy this time with family and create special memories. These are the times that fill hearts and minds with love, faith and family.
Reminder: MPLD Applications Now Open
The Minority Professional Leadership Development Program (MPLD) at AdoptUSKids is accepting candidates now through June 7for the cohort class which starts October 2021.
The MPLD fellowship is designed to develop skills and promote connections for emerging minority leaders who work in the field of child welfare. The fellowship includes hands-on experience, exposure to national adoption experts and mentorship opportunities.
March is Social Work Month, a time to celebrate the great profession of social work. The theme for Social Work Month 2021 is “Social Workers Are Essential.”
We couldn't agree more. Through their service to individuals, families and communities, social workers are professionals who help build a better world for all by compassionate service.
Social workers are essential to community well-being and quality of life. As practitioners, they are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups, and entire communities.
We salute social workers in our community from hospitals and schools, and of course the incredibly special and highly trained professionals that work with Spaulding and our families.
National Training and Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Parents
NTDC is a great place for parents to start their journey of fostering or adopting.
The curriculum is based on research and input from experts, families who have experience with fostering or adopting children, and former foster and adoptive youth. It provides potential foster or adoptive parents with the information and tools needed to parent a child who has experienced trauma, separation, or loss.
The resource serves as a state-of-the-art classroom and online program that helps prepare prospective foster and adoptive parents to be successful parents. In addition, the NTDC gives foster and adoptive parents access to information and resources needed to continue building skills once they have a child in their home.
You can learn remotely as the majority of the pilot sites continue to offer NTDC on a remote format such as Zoom. Check out the NTDC website in March for a new tip sheet on how to keep families engaged when using a remote platform.
In partnership with families, communities, organizations, states and the nation, Spaulding for Children’s mission is to assure that all children grow up in safe, permanent families and have the help they need to be successful in life.