Foster Children, Disjointed Families

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With guest host Michel Martin.

An intimate look at the foster care system from the perspective of two families struggling to reunite with their children.

A still from the upcoming documentary film, "Tough Love." (Courtesy PBS / The Filmmakers)
A still from the upcoming documentary film, "Tough Love." (Courtesy PBS / The Filmmakers)

All too often the evening news carries some gut wrenching story of children mistreated by their parents. But abuse is actually not the reason most children go to foster care: they are there because of neglect. But what does that actually mean? And do parents get a chance to clean up their act? And does anybody help them? Those were the kinds of questions filmmaker Stephanie Wang Breal tried to answer in her new documentary, "Tough Love." This hour On Point: an inside look at the child welfare system through the eyes of two parents trying to get their children back.
-- Michel Martin


Stephanie Wang-Breal, director and producer. Her new film, "Tough Love" appears on PBS this month. (@woainimommy)

Hannah Siddique, Brooklyn-based mother and waitress. Her two older children were placed in foster care and later released to their father.

Patricia Clark, former superior court judge for the King County Superior Court's Juvenile Court in Washington state.

From The Reading List

New York Times Motherlode: A Familiar Sense of Uncertainty — "As a new foster parent, and as someone who craves all the answers, the lack of accessibility to personal stories and opinions from foster parents and birth parents with children in the foster care system has been jarring. Sure, I’ve read a couple of recommended books and I’ve connected with other foster families through my agency and on social media, but the amount of available information still feels inadequate compared to what I’m used to. I want more."

San Jose Mercury News: California Senate passes sweeping reforms to curb psych medications in foster care — " In a major step toward curtailing the excessive use of psychiatric drugs on foster children, the California Senate on Thursday approved a package of bills that is already being eyed as a model in Washington, D.C., and across the country. The four proposed laws — if approved by the state Assembly and signed by the governor — would become the nation's most sweeping set of legislative reforms to curb the foster care system's reliance on psychotropic medications."

Lansing State Journal: Michigan foster care 'a persistent and dire problem' -- "Patty Babcock, director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, said one of the biggest problems — in Michigan or anywhere else — is that society has accepted failure. 'If this were medicine or aviation, we would never tolerate the number of errors that are made,' she said. 'We would never tolerate this many bad drugs going out or planes going down.'"

Watch The Trailer For "Tough Love"

This program aired on July 6, 2015.


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