Taken In: The Lives of America's Foster Children

Almost half a million children in the United States are in foster care. These are young people abused or neglected in their homes, or abandoned by their parents. For the last 150 years, social welfare agencies have placed children in temporary foster care. What are the real long term emotional and psychological costs of this policy?

This powerful film delves in to the lives of generations of children who have grown up in foster care. The centerpiece of the program documents a year in the life of fifteen-year-old Jeffrey Smith and his five-year-old sister Joanna after they are separated from their crack addicted parents and three brothers. They now live in a two bedroom apartment with a Spanish speaking foster mother who has three children of her own. With the help of a guidance counselor, they confront the pain of separation and the difficult adjustment to a new home, neighborhood and culture.

To the disappointment of the children, their parents fail to visit for several months. When they finally do, it becomes evident that their mother is still using drugs and fighting with their father. The hopes they had for being reunited are further diminished when their father is diagnosed with leukemia and their mother becomes pregnant with her sixth child.

Interwoven with the Smith's story are the stories of four generations of adults who were once in foster care. From eighty-year-old Bill and his seventy-five year old brother Paul who lived in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in 1932 to twenty-year-old Tieysha who aged out of foster care two years ago, they all feel they were deprived of a normal childhood. This is an important film for social workers, counselors, policy makers, and classes in sociology and social policy.


Alfred I. Dupont Award, Silver Baton, 1999
First Place, Social Issues, National Council of Family Relations, 1998
American Psych. Assoc. 1999
Bronze Apple, National Ed. Media Network, 1998
Gold Plaque, Chicago International Television Festival, 1998
International Documentary Festival , Amsterdam, 1997
Silver Apple, National Educational Media Network, 1998
Silver Apple, National Educational Media Festival, 1998


" An inclusive chronicle of a complex, escalating social phenomenon . . ." Booklist

"The quietly attentive documentary centers on the powerful bond between children and their biological parents even when the parents prove incapable of caring for the children or for themselves. The program presses its theme with the help of snatches of the memories of several adults who grew up in foster homes and tell of enduring feelings of loss. But the special strength of Taken In is the portrait of Jeffrey Smith, a bright and perceptive teenager trying to find himself, protect his sister and regain his family." Walter Goodman, The New York Times.


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Streaming Access (1-year) $149.00
Streaming Access (3-year) $299.00
Streaming Access (Perpetual) $499.00
DVD $295.00
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