About the Film
HOW FLORIDA IS FAILING ITS CHILDREN
Their stories are shocking. These former foster kids recall being ripped from their dangerous, unstable homes in the middle of the night, separated from brothers and sisters and deposited in a strange place where they didn’t know anyone. The foster family or group home in which they landed may be caring and supportive, or it may be another house of horrors, with sexual abuse, violence and neglect. This happened over and over again.
The filmmakers didn’t go into this project looking for worst case scenarios. They simply asked these young people about their lives in the child welfare system - and found just about any foster kid has the same kind of horrible experiences.
The young people featured in this film are all over age 18, so they have “aged” out of the system, meaning they’re no longer in the state’s care. The film gives their first-hand accounts of what it’s like to grow up this way. Their stories are backed up by a review of thousands of pages of public records and personal files that verify their accounts.
Looking for Positive Change
You should know the makers of Foster Shock are not looking to place blame. It’s about making life better for the children, not some day in the future, but right now.
The documentary is meant to be a catalyst for change and empowerment. We need to give children from failing families better options that offer stability, good health and guidance. We ask our public leaders and all citizens to fight for a better life for these forgotten children.
In Honor of Foster Parents
Many of the relatives and strangers who open their homes and their hearts to other people’s injured children are frustrated by the complications the system throws in their way. The compensation to assume the cost of caring for a child is low, the workload is high and they may not be appreciated by a lost child who often just wants to go home - no matter how bad home is.
We applaud the dedicated relatives, foster parents and professionals who give all they can to ensure that vulnerable, abused children are safe and given a chance to live a stable, happy life.
“The system is so bad your jaw would drop.” That gut-wrenching reaction is what compelled Director/ Producer Mari Frankel to make, Foster Shock.
Frankel has been trained and served as a community advocate for the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program for the last six years. These volunteers speak out on behalf of vulnerable youth in the courts.
For the last 15 years Mari has been on the board of Adopt-A-Family, a nonprofit that helps formerly homeless and income-challenged working families. She assists with their after-school program, Project Grow, which helps children build their social, emotional and educational skills.
What “Miss Mari” (as the children call her) has seen young people endure in the foster care system has horrified her, and compelled her to tell their stories in her first documentary film.
Brian Bayerl is the award-winning cinematographer and editor of Foster Shock. His work has been seen on PBS, Showtime and in numerous feature films, as well as premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW in Austin.
Bayerl’s films have been screened at prestigious locations such as the Andy Warhol Museum, the Whitney Museum and the British Museum in London. Portrait of America was screened in 3 countries and won Best Film at London’s Raindance Film Festival.