Channel 4 has commissioned KIDS, 3x60’ documentary series, featuring unprecedented access to teenagers and their families in the care system.
With the number of young people in care set to reaching a record 100 000 in the next decade, and increased pressure on the system and staff, there’s never been a more important moment to tell these stories. Until now, legal restrictions and risks, mean young people in care are rarely seen or heard.
Packed with drama and humour, the series gets up close and personal with six remarkable teenagers - and their families – in Coventry, as they enter a crucial year in their lives and prepare to leave the care system. For the first time, they invite an audience into their world to reveal the unflinching reality of how they entered care and how those experiences are carried with them today.
The series meets Xorin who, after being exploited by a drugs gang as a young teen, is returning home to Coventry from a children’s home in Wales to rebuild his life with mum Kelly. Meanwhile 19-year-old Annabelle is pregnant and determined to break the cycle of care that meant her being removed from her parents at the age of 5.
Byron and Bayley negotiate living on their own for the first time as they leave the security and support of their carers. And we join 16-year-old Havana as she takes on her first tenancy and has big questions she wants answered; she has never known her dad and now hopes to find him. Finally, after multiple placements, Kane returns to live near his mum but he wants to fully understand the reasons why he was removed as a young child and asks his social worker for access to his case files.
Hearing from foster carers, social workers, service managers and children’s home staff Kids lays bare the high-stakes decision making in trying to protect young people, and meets the parents who’ve had their children forcibly removed.
Director Paddy Wivell said, “In this series the young people are rightly front and centre. With the state acting as their corporate parent many feel they are treated differently to their peers. Rules and restrictions designed to protect also prevent them from having a public voice, making them invisible at a time when they need to be heard.”
Colin Barr, Executive Producer said, “Too often we look at young people in care as if they are victims, or that they should be pitied in some say, which is just not how they live their lives. There is an energy and spirit to them which is just a joy to witness and Paddy is the perfect director to capture that in an uncompromising but uplifting way.”
Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual said: “Exploring the lives of young people in the care system has been a key preoccupation since Coventry first gave us access for the film “Superkids: Breaking Away from Care”...
"Now Paddy Wivell and the brilliant team at Expectation have brought characteristically thoughtful and authentic filmmaking to a world that is rarely seen, and vital to understand. This very special series brings specialist factual insight to its examination of the care system now, but at its heart are the stories of the amazing young people who open our eyes in a new, moving and joyful way, as we look into their lives.”