Northwestern College is making its third appearance on the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces education list by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Ranked alongside Ivy League and Big Ten institutions as one of the leading adoption-friendly workplaces in education for 2013, Northwestern placed fifth—behind McGraw Hill Financial (first), Cornell University (second), The Ohio State University (third) and New York University (fourth).
“This is a great honor to again be chosen as an adoption-friendly workplace,” says Deb Sandbulte, Northwestern’s director of human resources. “We’re happy to offer this benefit and provide this support to adoptive families at Northwestern College. We believe we have a God-given responsibility to care for the marginalized, the needy, widows and orphans. This fits with our mission, our culture and our desire to see children through adoption be blessed in the care they find in loving families.”
Northwestern offers financial assistance of up to $2,000 per adopted child to faculty and staff, with an additional reimbursement of up to $1,000 for the adoption of a special needs child. The funds can be used for such things as home studies, agency and placement fees, legal expenses and court costs, medical expenses, and transportation and lodging. Adoptive parents are offered up to seven days of paid leave in addition to accumulated sick leave, vacation and personal leave.
Northwestern enacted its adoption benefits policy in 2007 at the request of the Faculty/Staff Welfare Committee. Five employees have benefited from the policy since that time.
Sherri Langton, cataloger/library systems specialist, used Northwestern’s financial assistance to pay court and attorney fees incurred in the adoption of son Ahman, now 7, from Ethiopia. “The benefit that Northwestern provides to adoptive families shows not only an acceptance of adoption as a way to grow a family, but an understanding of some of the unique challenges involved with adoption,” she says.
“I really appreciate that Northwestern is so committed to adoption,” says Kenton Pauls, dean of enrollment management at Northwestern, who adopted his fourth child this past summer. “We were so thankful for the many ways we were supported. We were grateful for the extra vacation days that were provided and the financial support the college offered. Adoption is a beautiful thing and I think it is wonderful that the college supports it in such a tangible way.”
Rankings for the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List, posted at www.adoptionfriendlyworkplace.org, are determined by an analysis of a company’s adoption benefits—financial reimbursement and paid leave—available to employees. The foundation compiled the results from survey data collected from U.S. employers and partnered with Employee Benefit News, the leading source of information for benefits decision makers, to announce the winners.
The Wendy’s Company earned the top spot with a maximum of $25,300 in financial assistance and up to six weeks of paid leave. In addition to ranking the top 100, the foundation also recognized the top 10 by size and the leaders of each industry.
More than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system are waiting to be adopted. The release of the annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List helps the Dave Thomas Foundation increase foster care adoption awareness while celebrating those businesses that support adoptive families.