Mark Jonathan Harris
AFI Docs 2018
An inside look at America’s foster care system.
Los Angeles County, which has the largest child welfare agency in the US, is the focus of Oscar winning director Mark Jonathan Harris’ expansive exploration of the world of foster care. Among the sobering statistics revealed early in the film, there are 4 million reports of neglect or abuse of minors in the nation, representing 1 in 8 children, with more than 400,000 of them ending up within the foster care system. In addition to sharing the candid stories of current and former foster kids and foster parents, the film offers the perspectives of others who are part of the system, including social workers and legal advocates. While Harris takes on a bit too much, making the project feel somewhat choppy and overlong at times, he succeeds in offering a humanizing corrective to conventional, often negative, portrayals of the world of foster care.