Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Recognizes Baylor University for Commitment to Employees Who Foster and Adopt

Annual Adoption-Friendly Workplaces places Baylor at No. 2 in education industry, commends the University’s paid parental leave, adoption assistance and foster care benefits

November 8, 2023
Parents hold baby's hands. Happy family in park evening

Credit: Lacheev / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (Nov. 8, 2023) – Baylor University was recognized today by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption as one of the nation’s top education institutions offering robust adoption benefits programs.

Through its signature Adoption-Friendly Workplace program, the Dave Thomas Foundation ranked Baylor

Badge for Baylor as an Adoption Advocate

No. 2 nationally among U.S. education institutions, behind only Yale University and ahead of Emory University, University of Notre Dame and Northwestern College, for offering the best overall adoption benefits, including paid parental leave and financial assistance for adoption-related expenses. Baylor also is featured on the foster care benefits list for offering paid parental leave to foster parents.

In 2017, Baylor implemented expansive new policies that provide paid parental leave for staff and an adoption assistance program that helps defray expenses associated with the adoption process and affirms the choice by staff and faculty to grow their families through adoption.

“Baylor made the right decision in 2017 to invest in a robust parental leave policy and adoption assistance program, and in 2022, actively enriched this benefit to better the lives of our employees by showing we love and care for them and their families,” said Cheryl Gochis, vice president of human resources and chief human resource officer at Baylor. “We hope these programs give Baylor faculty and staff the opportunity to grow their family.”

Baylor’s parental leave policy provides up to six weeks of paid leave for full-time staff who become parents through birth, adoption or foster care. The policy, which is available to staff immediately upon employment, gives parents time and flexibility to bond with their new child/children.

The University’s adoption assistance program provides up to $10,000 for reimbursement of eligible adoption expenses for each eligible child, maximum of two (2) children, within one calendar year. Faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the program following one year of full-time employment with the University.

“We are honored that the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has recognized Baylor University as one of the nation’s top university workplaces for our robust adoption benefits,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Baylor’s parental leave and adoption assistance benefits, including for foster care, align with the University’s Christian mission and reflect our deep commitment to supporting and strengthening families. We have made it a priority to provide a supportive work environment that enriches the lives of our staff and faculty and fosters the work-life balance vital to families’ capacity to flourish.”

To assist faculty and staff with planning, Baylor Human Resources, along with local adoption and foster care providers, will present an Adoption and Foster Seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Foster 107 or via Zoom. The seminar provides Baylor employees with information about the adoption and foster care processes and Baylor’s adoption assistance benefits for eligible Baylor faculty and staff. Registration is available here.

The Foundation partnered with RTI International to conduct the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace survey and score participants to develop the 2023 lists. Employers that completed the survey offer an average of $14,831 in financial reimbursement for adoption costs — up 23.5% from 2022. The average amount of paid leave is 9 weeks, an increase of 8.4% since 2022. The amount of paid leave offered to foster parents also grew to an average of 9.4 weeks — up 7.4 weeks from last year. More companies are incorporating foster parent leave into their overall paid leave program and offering them the same amount of time off as adoptive and biological parents.

“The Foundation is thrilled to see a growing number of organizations offering robust benefits to employees who open their hearts and homes as foster and adoptive parents,” said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “According to research conducted by The Harris Poll on the Foundation’s behalf, 68% of Americans say that having paid leave and other adoption benefits in the workplace impact their decision to adopt. When organizations offer benefits and join the Foundation in raising awareness of their importance to inspire others, we are one step closer to ensuring that every child has a permanent home and a loving family.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to finding permanent homes for the more than 140,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and innovative grantmaking. More than 30 years ago, Dave Thomas led an initiative advocating for better adoption benefits in the workplace. The Foundation has carried that legacy forward through the Adoption-Friendly Workplace program. The Foundation recognizes organizations that offer best-in-class adoption and foster care benefits, offers a toolkit to help employers develop their policies and shares stories of impact. Learn more at davethomasfoundation.org/AFW.