This 4 part documentary is really worth a watch. It gives a fantastic insight into fostering from the point of view of the child, the foster carer and the support services.
The first episode – One of the Family
One of the Family follows Dorset County Council’s fostering service over the course of a year to witness the intimate day-to-day work foster carers and other professionals do in helping the lives of children in care.
Amy is 14 years old and has been living in foster homes since she was ten. Three months ago, she moved in with Steph and Chris and their family. It’s her fourth placement in as many years, but as she enters her formative years she hopes it will be her last.
Amy settles quickly and moves school to help become part of the family. But when her older sister Natalie moves in in an emergency, the placement becomes strained. Amy’s behaviour deteriorates and foster carers Steph and Chris are forced to make a series of difficult decisions.
With unprecedented access to the family, the fostering service and the social workers involved in the lives of Amy and Natalie, One of the Family explores the complex nature of fostering teenagers at a time of huge national shortage in carers.
A disarmingly candid look at the intricate workings of a foster carer’s home.
The second episode – Jesse’s Home
The second episode follows four-month-old Jesse from when he comes into emergency foster care until his first birthday.
When Jesse is moved to a new placement he meets Dawn and Keith, experienced foster carers. We follow their story as they juggle giving Jesse the love he needs, whilst also encouraging his bond with his mum Natasha to strengthen as he may eventually go home to her.
Birth mum Natasha has been struggling with post-natal depression and found the challenge of looking after two children too much too soon after Jesse’s birth. But she hasn’t given up on him and has weekly contact.
Dawn is acutely aware that the longer he stays the harder it’ll be to say goodbye, a process that Keith says ‘nearly destroyed her in the past.’
As the months progress, Jesse grows his first tooth, learns to sit and then crawl. As his first Christmas approaches, all the professionals need to decide whether it’s in the child’s best interests to return to mum, and his mum has an important decision to make too.
With privileged access to Dorset’s Children and Family Services and the emotional worlds of both the foster family and the birth family, the film concludes at a meeting where Jesse’s long-term future is decided.
Episode 3 is on tonight – 24th June 2015.