Year of Production: 2018
Duration: 84 minutes
Would you kick your kid out the door when they turned 19, with everything they owned tossed into two garbage bags?
That would be traumatic enough if you’d grown up in a loving, stable family, but the damage done to those who grow up in the child welfare system is incalculable. With rare, intimate access, 19 & Homeless captures two years in the lives of a group of former foster kids as they age out of care and into a future where the odds are already stacked against them. Their personal struggles are gripping, their voices compelling, and their ordinary everyday tragedies overwhelming. Murder, suicide, and violence are not outliers.
During the course of filming, Kelly lost his shelter bed five times for drinking. Dillion spent a summer sleeping on the beach, even though he was working full-time. Amber, despite growing up in care, lovingly tends to her disabled father. And Mercedes dreams of rescuing her little brother from foster care.
We have failed kids like these on a grand scale.
British Columbia racks up some $222 million dollars each year in costs associated with former foster kids – in health, education, justice, and crime. That does not even factor in the costs of homelessness. That’s $222,000.00 for every one of the approximate 1000 kids who age out each year.
In short, it’s money spent not to do something well, but to do it badly.
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Brighter Future Films Inc.