NWC named among most adoption-friendly workplaces

For the second year in a row, Northwestern College is ranked alongside Ivy League and Big Ten institutions as one of the leading adoption-friendly workplaces in higher education. Northwestern is ranked fifth—behind Cornell University and New York University (tied for first), Harvard (third) and Ohio State (fourth)—on the 2010 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces education list released today by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

“We are pleased and humbled to receive this recognition for the second year,” says Deb Sandbulte, Northwestern’s director of human resources. “The support we provide employees in the adoption process is another example of our commitment to being a family-friendly place of employment. And it resonates with the college’s mission to pursue God’s redeeming work in the world by caring for all of his 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 2007 at the request of the Faculty/Staff Welfare Committee. Four 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 4, from Ethiopia. “I felt very fortunate to have a supportive employer like Northwestern,” she says. “I appreciated that I could use my sick pay just as if  I’d given birth, and that there were extra days of paid leave. There are lots of things for which you need time away from work. That Northwestern would take those steps to help families is a great benefit, and it shows acceptance that adoption is another way to build your family.”

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 nearly 500 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/Arby’s Group earned the top spot with a maximum of $24,300 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 114,000 children in the U.S. foster care system are available for adoption. Most will spend nearly four years in the system before they are adopted. The release of the fourth annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List helps the Dave Thomas Foundation increase foster care adoption awareness while celebrating those businesses that support adoptive families.