Filed under:

Lights, Camera, Action!

We've got a great line-up of movies that feature foster care themes. Watch 'em — then share 'em — to raise awareness and resources for kids in foster care! Check out the great movie listed below, then plan a showing with your friends and family!

1) Plan a Movie Night! Raise awareness, or ask people to make a pledge: use our event planner to plan fun activities for your movie showing that FUNdraise and promote awareness!

2) Gather a group of people: youth, friends, family. Think about hosting a movie night for your church group, youth advisory board, class, or scout troop.

3) Print a FosterClub Movie Guide (available for the 3 movies below) to lead a thoughtful discussion after your movie showing.

Antwone Fisher - a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past relating to his experiences in foster care is revealed and a hopeful future begins. Inspired by a true story. Download the study guide.

Meet the Robinsons - After being abandoned at birth and spending 12 years in an orphanage as a foster youth, Lewis goes on a journey to discover the meaning of family. Lewis is a brilliant inventor who meets a mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson, who whisks Lewis away in a time machine. Together they team up to track down Bowler Hat Guy in a showdown that ends with an unexpected twist of fate. Download the study guide.

Hotel for Dogs - No stray gets turned away. Two foster youth secretly take in nine stray dogs at a vacant house, making the dogs foster pups.

Cast: Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Don Cheadle, Johnny Simmons, Kyla Pratt. Length of movie: 100 minutes. Rating: PG

Themes relating to foster care:
Older Youth in Foster Care

Great ideas to make your Movie Night a blockbuster!
Ways young people can make a difference…

• Have your class host a movie night at their school. Ask people to bring donations of and have small groups in your class create small displays with foster care facts. Find facts at

• Invite someone from your local foster care agency to come and speak to the group and help lead the discussion at the end of the movie. Ask them if it would be possible to bring someone (over age 18) who actually spent time in foster care.

• Host a FosterClub Story Drive, like this one and help raise awareness, money and books. YOU can help rewrite the story for kids in foster care!

• Plan Movie Night with your church youth group or scout troop, then hold a strategy session to design your own fundraising project for kids in foster care.

Questions for your group
(not specifically youth from foster care)

1) Do you have siblings? What is your relationship like with your brothers and sisters? How would you feel if one day your parents were gone, or unable to take care of you, and the only people left for your support were your siblings, and you were forced to separate?
Note: Many foster youth identify their siblings as being one of the most important connections in their life. Often times, having been separated from their parents, brothers and sisters are the only connection to their familiar life. Also, siblings have shared experiences and are often times the only supports they feel as though they can trust.

2) In the movie it talks about the foster home being Andi and Bruce’s fifth in three years. Would moving so many times be difficult? Would you want to move that many times? What if you were moving and you felt like you had no support?

3) Do you have locks on your cupboards and refrigerator at your house? Why do you think the foster parents in the movie would put locks on these things? Is it right? How would it make you fell if your parents put locks on things to keep you out?

4) Why is Friday so important to them? Do you have a pet at home? Do you love your pet? What if your pet was to be taken from you for no reason, how would that make you feel? Do youth think Friday is a way for the two foster youth to remember their parents?

5) Have you ever been so embarrassed by something in your life that you felt like you had to lie about it because you wanted no one to know? Why do you think Andi lies throughout the movie about her and her Brother Bruce’s situation? Is lying about something painful easier than telling the truth? Do you think sometimes a foster youth might be judged because of their circumstances?
Note: Foster youth are forced to share their story over and over again when entering the system. Often times a foster youth feels ashamed or embarrassed by their situation. Also, having to repeat their story can cause them to feel bad again, like having to watch a sad movie about your life over and over again.

6) When in the pet store, Andi is talking with the young man about the older dogs no one wants. He says, “No one wants older dogs. Everyone wants puppies.” Andi responds by saying, “Tell me about it.” Why do you think Andi identifies with this statement?

7) At the end of this movie the caseworker talks about the responsibility towards making sure the dogs have a safe home and how the kids fulfilled that responsibility. The dogs did not deserve to be without a family. He is saying that we all have a sense of responsibility for these homeless dogs. Does society have a responsibility to make sure all youth and properly cared for and happy? How do we ensure that people begin to understand this?

Additional in-depth questions
Suggested for use with young foster care people in your group

8) Many times in the movie Bruce refers to the dogs and his sister and friends as being a real family, or their family. Why? What are Bruce’s feelings towards family? Does a person have to be blood related to be a member of your family? Is it okay to allow someone outside of your biological family to provide you with support? Like a friend, or a foster parent, or a caseworker, or a mentor? Can you have too much positive support? Why would some foster youth be afraid of letting people in to their circle of trust?
Note: Many foster care alumni and current foster youth begin to and have created their own sense of family. Family is who is in your heart, not what runs through your veins.

9) Are their correlations between the story of the youth and the story of the homeless dogs? What are the similarities? Why would Andi and Bruce feel so strongly about helping the dogs to have a home?

10) Bruce seems agitated when Andi is going to the party. Why? Does he feel concern for things going wrong, because he feels he won’t be protected if she goes, or because he fears that if she leaves she may not return? Why?

11) What do you think of the caseworker in the movie? Is it fair for him to say that if the two youth do not make this home work then he would have to split them up? Is it fair for him to expect the youth to try to happy with these particular foster parents?
Fact: Siblings groups are harder to place than individual youth due often times to space issues with foster homes. Also, the youth in the movie are 16 and 11, and many times older youth are very difficult to not only find a home for, but to also find a permanent situation such as adoption.

Have other ideas for movies we should add to this section? List them below in our comments section!

May 13, 2009 By FC Steve


DYLCNicki's picture

DYLCNicki (not verified) said:

"Aging Out" is a great documentary as well. I use the doc as a discussion tool with the youth I work with. They respond fairly well to the youth and relate to their experiences.

FC Steve's picture

FC Steve (not verified) said:

Yeah, it's a great list. I'd reach out to anonymous and ask for more info, but unfortunately there's no way to contact that person because they weren't logged in. At some point, I'll put this up on the home page for a while. How's that sound?

Ella's picture

Ella (not verified) said:

Wow - what a great list "Anonymous" gave!! Can you put those up on your site too with some info about each? I too offer lists of movies to watch as training. I like pointing out that a lot of the recent cult movies involve foster youth: The Cullen kids in Twilight and Harry in Harry Potter!
E : )

mercy.chavez's picture

mercy.chavez (not verified) said:

There are also some T.V shows that have the main caracter as foster youth such as Bones and that new show Life Unexpected

I'm a surviver

FC Steve's picture

FC Steve (not verified) said:

Wow...that's a quite a list of movies. Thanks for sharing!

pontes's picture

pontes (not verified) said:

Isn't at least one of the "Free Willy" movies about a foster child trying to find his place among his foster family?

"There is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power."
Mary Pickford

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous (not verified) said:

I am a licensing specialist for a foster care agency and fp can watch movies for training hours. Here is the list of movies I give them.
1. Angels in the Outfield
2. Antoine Fisher
3. A Beautiful Mind
4. I am Sam
5. Losing Isaiah
6. The Lost Child
7. Secondhand Lions
8. White Oleander
9. Juno
10. Evelyn (2002)
11. Gracie’s Choice
12. Nell
13. The Lost Child (2000)
14. What about Bob (boundary issues)
15. America (2009)
16. Sybil (1976)
17. The Lost & Found Family (2009)
18. Foster Child (2007)
19. Saving Sarah Cain (2007)
20. The House of Love (2004)
21. Switching Parents (1992)
22. Who'll Save Our Children? (1978)

Cartoons/Family Movies
1. An American Tail
2. The Land Before Time
3. Lion King
4. Lilo and Stitch
5. Oliver and Company
6. Ice Age
7. Annie
8. Snow Dogs
9. Scooter Kidz (2001)
10. Hotel for Dogs
11. . Meet the Robinsons

1. Taken In: The Lives of America's Foster Children (1998)
2. Someplace to Call Home: Surviving the Foster Care System
3. The Boys of St. Vincent
4. I Know My First Name Is Steven, also released as The Missing Years, (1989)
5. Just Ask My Children, 2001

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous (not verified) said:

Tori, Thanks for the suggestion. I'm also going to send this list of movies to child welfare staff and school staff. I hope this will give us a deeper understanding of the young people we are here to serve and protect.
J. Marez

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous (not verified) said:

i'm not sure of anymore fostercare related ones out now but i do know they are supposed to be working on one based on the dave pelzer books about his childhood entitled the lost boy

tori217's picture

tori217 (not verified) said:

Great idea! The movie "America" is amazing. (you can download it on itunes/ find it on lifetime)
This one was an eye opener for those who have "limited knowledge" about how the system works, it really helped my friends relate/"see" what it was like to be a foster kid. It was really nice to be able to share my experience w/o anyone changing the topic cause nobody knew how to respond.

America is about Dr. Maureen Brennan (Rosie O'Donnell), a psychiatrist at a youth treatment center, encounters her newest patient, a 16-year-old biracial boy named America. Through their sessions, Dr. Brennan helps America come to terms with his roller-coaster life, which began when he was taken by authorities from his crack-addicted mother and placed into foster care as an infant. In this emotional story, Dr. Brennan works to help him open up about his painful past and discover the support and courage he needs to get his life back on track.