Monday, May 11, 2009

Reminder: Britain's Forgotten Children

Apologies for another work promo from me, but Channel 4's season on adoption and the care system this week, "Britain's Forgotten Children" is without doubt one to watch and interact with. The season explores the issue of the "hard to place" children that can get stuck in the care system or shuttled between different foster families that could be helped by more people considering adoption and especially adopting older children, siblings or kids with disabilities.

Find Me a Family, a three-part documentary following three potential families and their path to adoption, really started off the thinking behind the season and has been a long time in the making (the challenges of which are described in an interesting post by Commissioning Editor Dominique Walker). It does a great job of dispelling myths around who can adopt (yes, single women and gay couples can!) and expanding thinking about the kids that are available for adoption as well as demonstrating the processes involved.

Alongside the tv programmes, we have also developed a website, Adoption Experience (commissioned by Adam, built by Mint), to complement the programmes by enabling deeper exploration of the issues around, and experiences of, adoption. So if you have any experience of adoption please help answer the questions that are on the website (or pose your own) and consider sharing your own experience alongside those we've filmed and highlighted.

There are some criticisms of a much beleaguered care system within some of the programmes, but I hope if you watch last night's Dispatches programme, Lost in Care, you'll see there are also pointers to where the care system can and has had a positive role to play (there are some really interesting comments on the programme page, some not agreeing with my conclusion).

I haven't seen Sunday's Samantha Morton-directed drama, The Unloved, yet but have been promised it's powerful, absorbing and thought provoking; based on her personal experience of being in care and her directorial debut, it's hard to imagine it could be anything else. There are some fascinating insights into how the project really started in this interview with her where Morton explains her motivations and experience of making the film.

As you can see, we have involved lots of different people with many different perspectives in both the development of the programmes and the website and associated content, but the issue can only be better highlighted and our content improved upon by more interaction and feedback, which I hope we've allowed ample opportunity for, through the comments, blog posts and websites we've built.

And, finally, if you are interested in adopting, then please read about the children that need homes who have been featured in the programmes and promotions and consider expressing your interest. If we were to help find a family for just one of them it would have made a worthwhile season invaluable.

Later note 17/05: Feeling terribly remiss for not including the extraordinary Cutting Edge film The Homecoming (27 days left to watch it on 4oD catch-up), an extremely moving and interesting film about two girls revisiting fellow care home members that featured in an old photo years after they themselves were successfully adopted. Plus Adam's written an interesting blog post about the thinking behind the Adoption Experience website.

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