Statement from CWLA on the Death of Dave Thomas

Child Welfare League of America
Tuesday, 8 January 2002

With deep sadness, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) learned of the death of Dave Thomas. As the Founder of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Thomas was a powerful and public advocate for adoption and a strong voice for children waiting for permanent, loving homes.

Since 1992, his foundation has heightened public awareness, provided grants to local adoption organizations, and championed programs and initiatives that have improved the lives of thousands of adopted children and their families.

"Today, the nation lost a great businessman and entrepreneur, but adopted children lost one of their most dedicated and commanding advocates," said CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik. "Thomas's impact on the adoption community is immeasurable."

CWLA Vice President Shirley Marcus Allen remembers sharing a podium with Thomas during a 1999 event acknowledging the strides West Virginia had made in finding permanent homes for waiting children. "He not only took the time to travel to the event, but shook the hand of every adoptive and foster parent in the audience that day," said Marcus Allen. "To me, that spoke to the commitment he had."

In 1994, CWLA awarded Thomas the Natalie Heineman Award for Outstanding Service to Children for his national leadership and efforts to promote adoption. The award was given at the CWLA national conference.

The Child Welfare League of America is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. We are committed to engaging people everywhere in promoting the well-being of children, youth, and their families, and protecting every child from harm.

For more information, or to contact Child Welfare League of America, see their website at:

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