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Thrownaway Kids: A Documentary

All children need food, a safe and stable place to live, and health care. But today, millions of American kids lack these basic needs. And as a result of the pandemic, an increasing number of families have lost health insurance, lack food, and face eviction or foreclosure ending with homelessness.

In the midst of this increasingly dire situation, some children fall victim to the physical and sexual abuse by family members. Many more find themselves going without basic needs due to poverty or other circumstances. 

In 2020, according to federal HHS statistics, 213,964 children or one in 300 kids, were removed from their home and placed in foster care. However, only one-in-seven cases involved abuse. In six-out-of-seven cases, kids were removed from their homes for neglect, frequently involving circumstances resulting from poverty.

For many children, separation from their families and placement into the often sparsely regulated foster care system, can result in their situations becoming even more dire.
 
States spend billions of dollars a year on children once they are in foster care, but often only pennies on the dollar to help families that are struggling with poverty to provide sufficient food, health care or shelter for their kids. In those cases, the solution all too often is to remove these children from their homes.  
 
How can it be that the U.S. child welfare and protection system has ended up an acknowledged failure for decades when it comes to caring for children in need, protecting them against abuse and neglect, and strengthening families?

How can it be that a state like Massachusetts, home to Harvard University, Children’s Hospital and other world-class institutions brimming with expertise in child wellness and development, has been among the states at the bottom of the barrel for decades when it comes to preventing the abuse and neglect of kids and strengthening families? And why has the state been unable to stop a litany of horrific, high-profile deaths of kids placed in state care for their safety that have dominated the news over the past decade?

How can it be that New Jersey, once among the worst in the nation for child welfare and protection, has emerged as a recognized best state in the country following a 20-year renovation of its child welfare system? 

What would it take to fix the nation’s child welfare system, in order to ensure that all children get the care and protection they need and deserve?  

An unprecedented reporting team composed of seasoned journalists with decades of experience covering child welfare nationally, intrepid student journalists doing enterprise reporting on this story, and leading national experts is working to identify and expose the underlying systemic problems in the child welfare system. This includes the unfair and disproportionate impact of the failed system on parents who have disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse issues; victims of domestic violence; people of color; and those facing economic hardship. 
 
Finally, this non-profit independent documentary production, slated for festival, theatrical and public television release, will be accompanied by a deep community and educational outreach campaign to engage the public in seeking changes that can and will help protect and care for children in need and strengthen families. Thrownaway Kids will shed light and propose working solutions — and by doing so will save lives. 

Please make your critical donation now — and then spread the word to your friends and family and through your social media network. 
 
All donations are tax-deductible and are administered by our 501(c)(3) non-profit fiscal sponsor, Filmmaker Collaborative.

 

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Bill Lichtenstein

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