22/8 · Por HBO · Reading 4 min.

A documentary that explores the world of foster care for children in difficult family situations.

his magnificent piece is produced by HBO and Deborah Oppenheimer under the direction of Mark Jonathan Harris. In 2001, Harris and Oppenheimer won the Best Documentary Academy Award ® with Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000), a historical research piece narrated by actress Judi Dench; which tells us about Operation Kindertransport, which saved ten thousand Jewish children from the Nazi horrors as they were sent to England and subsequently adopted by British families.

Foster enters the world of children and families; however, this time it is in present-day Los Angeles. Yet the documentary does not revolve around the world of adoption or retention institutions but rather tells the story of the temporary homes that care for these children after being separated from their biological families.


Foster care is understood as a legal measure taken by the state that temporarily grants the guardianship of a minor to a person or a family that offers them direct care vs. care institutions which are often overcrowded and lack the personal touch much less a personalized treatment. In contrast, foster care seeks to ensure that the foster family provides the child with affection, food and education, as if it were its own family. They spend time in foster care for a certain time. They are then returned to their original family, as long as they are deemed ready to receive them again. In other words, the host family never replaces the biological family. 

In general, these children are separated because of negligence (parents who use drugs, for example), abandonment (children, alone in the house, or insufficient care by inappropriate people) or physical or psychological abuse, among other reasons. Notwithstanding the above, everything can happen at the same time.


Foster took the filmmakers ten years in production to film presents the viewer an in-depth look into what happens within the system with social service providers, children, and the biological and foster families themselves.

The viewer is introduced to social workers Jessica Chandler and Jacqueline Chun, who describe their work as a hellish experience much like being in a marine battalion at war. According to statistics, child protection agencies receive around four million complaints a year.


We will also meet Raeanne, a girl who tested positive for cocaine when she gave birth. Chris, her newborn child, is taken to her father who fortunately is a reliable and responsible person who does not use drugs. Raeanne, for her part, will struggle to stay clean; a story we will not share but it is truly devastating.

We will meet Mary, a girl who was beaten and burned by her addicted mother, and who, after many years, is finally in a foster home where she has found the support and motivation she needs.


We are also introduced to Earcylene Beavers, one of the women subscribed to the foster care system, but who also has four adopted children (one of them autistic). Her situation is not an easy one; she is a woman with limited resources, hard worker, yet makes a passionate effort to take care of her children and those she has under her care. Earcylene, one of the most active and sought after foster parents, has been receiving children for thirteen years. She is usually given very young children who have been separated from their addicted parents and once cared for two infants at the same time. Denyshia, one of the girls cared for by Mrs. Beavers, says at some point, "I never thought it was possible to be loved.”

In conclusion, the film revolves around just that; love. Having love being part of the family nucleus, and the great effort that many make to ensure that someone who has been stripped of it grows up having it ensures that when one grows up, it makes them appreciate being loved and in turn, they also give love.

Foster; a strong, deep, and real film, only on HBO and HBO GO.

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