Scholarship program named for state Rep. Bill Kinkade
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Wednesday announced the expansion of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, which focuses on finding adoptive homes for children within the Mississippi foster care system.
Reeves also ceremoniously signed HB 1313, which creates the “State Representative Bill Kinkade Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (or Faith) Scholarship Program.” The legislation provides $1 million for foster children in Mississippi to pursue postsecondary education.
The scholarship program carries the name of state Rep. Bill Kinkade (R-Byhalia), who grew up in the state foster care system. Kinkade represents Marshall and an eastern part of DeSoto County.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is generously providing 1.7 million dollars and their training and support program to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. This unique public-private partnership will fund ten experienced adoption professionals to serve children and youth – including teenagers, special needs children, and siblings – who are at risk of aging out of foster care without a family.
“When the Foundation approached the state of Mississippi about scaling Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, they were eager to learn more,” Rita Soronen, President & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption was quoted in a news release. “Mississippi is a key part of our strategy to expand nationally. We are thrilled when these partnerships come together because it means more families for youth who have been lingering in foster care the longest.”
To date, the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program has found adoptive homes for more than 12,000 children across the United States, including 125 youth right here in Mississippi.
“There are still too many Mississippi kids who need a loving family and a forever home, especially older teens who remain in foster care,” Reeves said. “We’ll continue to do everything we can to support children in foster care, find them loving homes, and give them the opportunity to succeed.”
Reeves ceremoniously signed the legislation during a ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion. The event was live streamed and can be watched here.