In September 2013 the nonprofit Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption announced its seventh annual 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List, which celebrates U.S. organizations for their adoption benefits and commitment to supporting adoptive families.
The Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list is compiled based on an analysis of companies’ adoption benefits, including the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave for families who adopt.
Adoption assistance is one of the easiest benefits a company can offer and is becoming more popular, according to the foundation. In Aon Hewitt’s annual survey of 1,000 major U.S. employers, only 12 percent offered a financial adoption benefit in 1990. But in 2013, 52 percent of employers did so.
“It is vital for adoptive parents to spend time with their children to bond and develop trust,” said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the foundation. “Employers who offer adoption benefits understand that the initial needs of adoptive families are no different than families formed biologically. And family-friendly work environments create strong and loyal workforces.”
The list recognizes organizations of every size and industry that offer adoption benefits. Employers who applied for the list provide an average of $7,000 in adoption assistance and four weeks of paid leave. Financial reimbursement varies from $500 to $25,300, and paid leave from one to 18 weeks. Unpaid leave for adoption, beyond what is required by the Family and Medical Leave Act, ranges from one week to three years.
Many organizations go beyond benefits and support the cause of adoption. Some encourage adoption, educate potential adoptive parents, offer support and networks to employees who adopt, and incorporate adoption into employee assistance program services. Others include adoption nonprofits in their payroll-deduction programs or participate in cause-related marketing programs.
There are more than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted, according to the foundation. Every year more than 23,000 children in foster care turn 18 and age out of the system without families.
The foundation offers a free Adoption-Friendly Workplace Kitthat helps employees to propose, and companies to establish, adoption-friendly policies in the workplace.
Organizations that wish to apply for the 2014 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list can complete the foundation’s survey.