Advice & Guides

6 Documentaries That All Foster Carers Should Watch

While being a foster carer is incredibly rewarding, it also comes with its own unique challenges. Caring for children that have experienced trauma and instability throughout their lives can take commitment, patience, and a wealth of knowledge.

The best foster carers are the ones that are always keen to learn. One of the best ways to learn more about fostering and how to approach the various challenges it brings is through reading, watching, and listening to other people’s experiences.

Resources like books, podcasts and documentaries are excellent for guiding and informing your experience as a foster carer. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top 6 documentaries on fostering and children’s wellbeing to help you develop your fostering know-how.

These documentaries will help to supplement your training and knowledge, increasing your understanding of fostering and the challenges faced by the children in your care.

Kids On The Edge, Channel 4

This three-part series from Peter Beard takes an in depth look at children’s mental health in the UK, exploring the various services offered by the NHS. With episodes focusing on gender identity, social, emotional, and behavioural problems, and self-harm, this documentary provides a brilliant insight into the minds and challenges of young people.

Young, British and Depressed: Dispatches, Channel 4

With the help of some of the critical voices in child psychology, reporter Sanah Ahsan explores the depression crisis facing Britain’s youth in this brief documentary. Looking at possible causes of the crisis, and the different types of treatment available for young people, this documentary asks all the right questions about the state of young people’s mental health in the UK.

Split Up in Care: Life Without Siblings, BBC Three

Care leaver Ashley John-Baptiste spent most of his life believing he was an only child, until he received a message one day from a man on social media, who claimed to be his brother. This moving fostering documentary explores what happens to siblings in foster care when they cannot be kept together, and the ongoing foster carer shortage at the heart of these issues.

Protecting Our Foster Kids, BBC Two

Following Dorset County Council’s fostering service over a year, this foster care documentary in the UK explores the intimate, day-to-day lives of various foster carers and other professionals within the county. This tv series about foster care takes a candid look at the intricate workings of the lives of children and families in foster care.

Ian Wright: Home Truths, BBC One

Footballer Ian Wright shares his own story about his turbulent childhood, investigating the impact that growing up in a psychologically abusive and violent home has on child welfare in the UK.

Finding a Forever Family, BBC News

In this brief but powerful foster care documentary/movie, journalist Jeremy Cooke investigates the world of adoption, showcasing three unique families who have adopted ‘harder to place’ children, and exploring why so many children across the UK still remain in the care system.

These tv shows about foster care provide an excellent insight into the world of social care and children’s physical and emotional wellbeing in the UK.

At Compass, we understand that, as a foster carer, the learning never stops. We encourage all our foster carers to continue educating themselves, be that by reading books, watching documentaries or videos about foster care, or accessing our specialist training courses.

We also have a wide range of recommendations on books for foster carers and foster children, ranging from fostering, gender identity, LGBT+ and racism.

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