'Foster' Tells Firsthand Stories of Those Navigating the Child Welfare System

Rick and Christina Gables
Courtesy of HBO

In honor of National Foster Care month, Foster is coming to HBO on Tuesday, May 7.

With one in eight American children suffering a confirmed case of neglect or abuse by age 18, there are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., a number that continues to grow each year.

Courtesy of HBO

Drawing on unprecedented access, this documentary explores the often-misunderstood world of foster care through compelling stories from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, the largest county child welfare agency in the country.

Ginnifer Goodwin on Being in Front of & Behind the Camera for Lifetime's 'I Am Somebody's Child' (VIDEO)

Ginnifer Goodwin on Being in Front of & Behind the Camera for Lifetime's 'I Am Somebody's Child' (VIDEO)

The new Lifetime movie, premiering April 20, takes a closer look at the foster system.

Mixing firsthand accounts of people navigating the system with insights from social workers, advocates and others, the film offers a realistic but hopeful perspective on a community that needs society’s support.

Courtesy of HBO

Producer Deborah Oppenheimer and writer-director Mark Jonathan Harris (HBO’s Oscar-winning Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport) reunite to upend some of the most enduring myths about foster care, going beyond the stereotypes.

Foster visits courtrooms, foster homes, juvenile centers, hospitals and the neighborhoods of Los Angeles to tell moving stories of the foster care system in the United States. One literally begins in the cradle, focusing on an infant born to a mother who tests positive for cocaine at the child’s birth.

Courtesy of HBO

Elsewhere, the documentary features the accounts of: a teenager who entered the system through tragic circumstances and is on probation for a typical adolescent act that might not have been prosecuted in the case of someone from an intact home; a young woman transitioning to college and independence, who has lived in more homes than she can remember; a former foster child who has overcome her painful past to become a powerful advocate for children; and a foster mother who has provided support to more than 100 children.

Foster, Documentary Premiere, Tuesday, May 7, 8/7c, HBO