America's Lost Children Growing Up

In 2017, 690,000 American children spent time in foster care.

One hundred thousand currently await adoption.

It’s a dire situation for our country. And it’s getting worse.

In states like Ohio and West Virginia–because of the opioid crisis–the percentage of children awaiting adoption has risen by 20 percent.

In the meantime, these children languish in foster homes.

Some of the homes are good. Some not so much.

Joe Toles grew up in one of the bad ones. He was abused and neglected. He frequently had to care for his siblings himself.

When Joe aged out of foster care at age 21 (in many states, it’s 18), he did not find the path many aged-out kids land on.

One-third of aged-out 19-year-olds in California end up homeless.

One of four become incarcerated.

Seventy percent of women who’ve aged out of foster care become pregnant before they are 21.

Aged-out kids are seven times more likely to develop substance abuse disorders and five times more likely to suffer from PTSD.

But for seven young men who used to be in foster care, that’s not the story.

That’s because Joe Toles adopted them.

When he was younger, Toles found mentors. He got a college scholarship. After graduation, he returned to his community and became a high school counselor.

He adopted his sons through the Dave Thomas Foundation–a charity arm of the fast-food chain known as Wendy’s.

But Toles’s story isn’t just an anecdote about a big charity that isn’t otherwise making a big difference.

Children in the Dave Thomas Foundation’s program are 300 percent more likely to find a forever home.

This foundation is effective.

If you can, consider adoption. If you cannot, go buy a Frosty. Buy some chili. Buy a Baconator or a burger or just a salad.

Or just donate (tax-deductible) at this link.

Many of America’s children are in crisis.

The Dave Thomas Foundation is standing in the gap. Let’s stand with them.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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