NWC named among adoption-friendly workplaces

Northwestern College is ranked alongside Ivy League and Big Ten institutions as one of the leading adoption-friendly workplaces in the education industry. Northwestern is ranked fifth—behind Cornell University and New York University (tied for first), Harvard (third) and Ohio State (fourth)—on the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces in America education list released by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

“We are very pleased to receive this recognition,” says Deb Sandbulte, Northwestern’s director of human resources, “because it affirms we are a family-friendly place of employment. Northwestern provides support to employees in the adoption process because it resonates with our mission to care for all of God’s children.”

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 July 2007 at the request of the Faculty/Staff Welfare Committee. Three employees have benefited from the policy since that time.

“We continue to see increases in the number of companies establishing and enhancing adoption,” says Rita Soronen, executive director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Even with today’s tough economy, companies are dedicated to providing competitive benefits packages to help their employees when they adopt. It is one benefit employers can add without negatively impacting the bottom line.”

Rankings for the Best Adoption Friendly Workplace list are determined by an analysis of a company’s adoption benefits—financial reimbursement and paid leave—available to employees who adopt. The foundation compiled the results from survey data collected from 753 U.S. employers. Employee Benefit News, the leading source of information for benefits decision makers, helped extend the survey’s scope even further by inviting readers to participate.

 Wendy’s International, based in Dublin, Ohio, earned the top spot with a maximum of $24,300 in financial assistance and up to six weeks paid leave. In addition to ranking the top 100, the foundation also recognized the top 10 by size, the leaders of each industry, and companies who support the cause of adoption and adoptive families in other ways.

More than 150,000 foster care children are available for adoption in North America—129,000 of them in the United States. Most will spend nearly four years in the system before they are adopted. The release of the third annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace List helps the Dave Thomas Foundation increase foster care adoption awareness while celebrating those businesses that support adoptive families.