The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has awarded a $70,000 grant to FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview. The money will be used to find forever families for children who have been waiting in foster care the longest. Many of these children have special needs.
The grant is through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, which awards funding so that agencies like FamiliesFirst Network can hire specialized adoption recruiters and provide them with the time and resources to aggressively seek permanent placements for children most in need of loving families. The grant is effective Jan. 1.
Serving Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties, FamiliesFirst Network is responsible for providing foster care and related services to children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Although family reunification is always the goal, sometimes parental ties must be legally severed for the child’s protection. When that happens, the child becomes available for adoption. At any given time, there are between 50 to 80 such children in the four-county area.
This is the first Dave Thomas Foundation grant for Northwest Florida, but many people living in the area may already be familiar with its collection canisters at local Wendy’s restaurants. The chain’s founder and foundation namesake was adopted himself and actively promoted adoption during much of his professional life.