New Campaign Shines a Light on the Critical Need for Foster Care Adoption

New Campaign Shines a Light on the Critical Need for Foster Care Adoption

More than 30,000 children are waiting to be adopted from foster care in Canada. Too many children linger in care for years and age out of the foster care system without an adoptive family, putting them at an elevated risk of negative outcomes, including homelessness, incarceration and early parenting. To help draw attention to this crisis, McCann Toronto has partnered with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada to launch a breakthrough new campaign, ‘Up For Adoption,’ timed to coincide with November’s National Adoption Month.

The creative for the campaign plays off the surprising cultural insight that people are far more likely to pay attention to animal adoption than foster care adoption. To turn the tables on the topic, the Foundation has partnered with McCann Toronto to create a new campaign that looks like a typical animal adoption campaign: ads featuring kids playing with adorable animals along with the call to action: “Your donation can help him/her find their forever home.” The surprise comes when you visit the featured microsite,, which reveals that it’s not the animals in the ads who may be up for adoption — it’s the children.

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada is dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of adoptions of children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Through its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program, the Foundation provides funding to adoption agencies to hire recruiters who implement an evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model. Research in the United States revealed the model to be up to three times more effective at serving children who have been in foster care the longest, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings. To date, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Ontario have found adoptive homes for 386 children, with another 86 in their pre-adoptive placements.

“We are so grateful to the teams at McCann Toronto and Initiative Media for the creativity, passion and purpose they’ve put toward bringing their incredible idea to fruition,” said Paul Hilder, Chairman, Board of Directors for the Dave Thomas Foundation-Canada and Senior Vice-President, Managing Director for Wendy’s Restaurants of Canada. This campaign is sure to spark a substantive national conversation about the critical need for foster care adoption. We encourage Canadians to visit the website, learn more about the cause and donate to the Foundation so that we can help more Canadian children. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own – these are wonderful kids who deserve safe, loving homes.”

The Foundation is the signature cause of The Wendy’s® Company. As a nonprofit public charity, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada relies on generous support from Wendy’s events and in-restaurant campaigns as well as a growing number of individual donors.

The national ‘Up For Adoption’ campaign will span TV, online video, digital, social and transit out of home. All of the contributing agencies worked pro-bono. Wendy’s Canada’s creative agency of record, McCann Toronto, developed and produced the creative work; Wendy’s Canada’s media agency of record, Initiative, worked with its media partners to secure smart, targeted media donated to the campaign cause; and MRM McCann developed the microsite. The campaign will run until the end of the year.

Read more about it in Ad Age