Aging Out: Teens Leaving Foster Care

2004
Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 202-808-4980
Producer n/a
Directed by Roger Weisberg & Vanessa Roth
VHS, color, 60 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Adoption, Social Sciences, Sociology, Social Work


Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 9/22/2004

Research has shown that all children need basic social, emotional, and cognitive supports in order to become productive, contributing members of any society. These supports should begin at birth and continue throughout the child’s life. Their impact is cumulative. Most parents try to provide their children with these supports. But even in the most stable and supportive of families, research is now indicating that familial support to enable a child to enter adulthood often continues well beyond the age of 18. However, for the over 500,000 children in the foster care system in the U.S., this is not always the case. Many children in foster care go through their childhood without the consistent, fundamental supports that any child needs to succeed.

Aging Out: Teens Leaving Foster Care is a video about children in the foster care system facing difficult hurdles as they transition out of foster care into adulthood and independent living “Navigating the transition from adolescence to adulthood is challenging for even the most mature and privileged youth. We meet Daniella Anderson, a foster care veteran going to college with the hard reality of raising her newborn child and paying her bills. We see and meet another foster care vet David Griffin as he leaves foster care for the streets and then goes on a self-destructive drug and crime binge, while coping with homelessness and prison. He eventually moves to Alaska with the hope of becoming a fisherman. Another foster care vet Risa Bejaramo attends her high school prom and graduates with several scholarships but also is currently doing battle drug addiction and suffers an emotional breakdown during her freshman year of college.”

For those of us who are parents, it is common knowledge that most of us will give our children the moral, financial, psychological support when they step out into the real world of today. In fact, as my wife has emphatically stated, “even when our son leaves, the door will always be open.” Children in foster care do not have this option. Indeed, many like, Daniella, David, and Risa are left with any support to navigate this difficult period in their lives. Making the transition to independent living is considerably more difficult as they "age out" of the foster care system. They suddenly discover that they're on their own for the first time. Aging Out illustrates through real life experiences the daunting obstacles that these young American veterans of foster care encounter as they are forced to fend for themselves.”

Roger Weisberg's twenty-two previous documentaries have won over eighty awards including Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont-Columbia awards. Several films were distributed theatrically before airing on PBS, including Road Scholar and his two recent Academy Award nominated documentaries - Sound and Fury and Why Can’t We Be a Family Again?

Co-Producer/Co-Director Vanessa Roth has worked as a documentary producer and director for the past ten years. After receiving her masters degree in social work from Columbia University, Vanessa went on to make several award winning documentaries including the Dupont Award winning film, Taken In: The Lives of America’s Foster Children and the Sundance 2002 premiere, Close to Home. This title is scheduled to air in 2005 on PBS.

Awards

  • Best Documentary, Tiburon Film Festival, 2004
  • Palm Beach International Film Festival, 2004
  • Cinequest Film Festival, 2004