Kinnect was established in 2005 as the Waiting Child Fund (WCF), with a mission to raise funds to help at-risk children get adopted. Focusing on children who were “aging out,” WCF closed the funding gap between what adoption cost, and the money that was available from state and local sources. After initial success at a small scale, founders Mike Kenney and Shannon Deinhart searched nationwide for models to scale their work for the thousands of Ohio children waiting for permanent families.
Through this exploration, they discovered that changing outcomes for thousands of children would require a different approach. Rather than supporting children from the outside, WCF would have to create fundamental change within the county agencies responsible for serving those children. True change would require intervening earlier, reallocating resources, and confronting the practices that were failing the children they were meant to protect.
Staying true to the founding principles that all children can and deserve to achieve permanency, the organization evolved its mission to “develop partnerships that transform beliefs, values, and actions to achieve permanency for all children in the shortest time possible.”
Today, Kinnect partners with leaders throughout the state and country to create sustainable change, driven solely by the outcomes being achieved for children and families. Kinnect affects real, lasting change by building enhancements into the practice and culture of its partners. Kinnect remains committed to “required evolution” when it comes to the “how” of their work to achieve permanency for all children.
In March 2018, the Waiting Child Fund transformed to become “Kinnect,” a name that represents the organization’s core practice of engaging kin to help children in foster care to find permanent, loving homes in the shortest time possible. (“Kin” includes biological family, friends, and other close connections who help every child grow up amidst a loving network.)