During the first moments of HBO’s new film “Foster,” the camera pans across an office of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and lingers on a cluster of infant car seats.
They’re ready to be grabbed by county social workers on their way out of the Emergency Response Command Post, the nerve center of the county’s child welfare system. That’s where DCFS fields calls from the child protection hotline and, when necessary, sends out social workers to investigate serious allegations of child abuse. In the cases where social workers find a child’s life in danger, the kids will be whisked away from their family and home, and into the care of the county and its foster care system, the largest such entity in the country.
Over the course of two hours, the HBO movie endeavors to show viewers more than the terrifying moments of foster care. Directors Mark Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer aim to show a wider range of people and experiences than you might encounter if your only knowledge of child welfare is gleaned from newspaper headlines about child fatalities and system dysfunction.]