Combining TV programmes, online content and off-air events, Channel 4’s Britain’s Forgotten Children season aims to raise awareness of the issues facing children in care.
Opening the season, Adopt Me (w/t) follows four households of would-be adopters over 18 months as they take part in a pioneering project designed to find homes for the children no one wants. Journalist and adoption campaigner David Akinsanya has worked with three of the country’s leading adoption agencies and BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) to create this innovative and hands-on training course.
Adoption Experience (www.channel4.com/adopt) will provide a unique online resource to support the programme. The site will include video testimonies from people who have been adopted, adopters, social workers, siblings, people left in the system and potential adopters, offering insights into many of the issues surrounding adoption.
Dominique Walker, who commissioned Adopt Me for Channel 4, said: “We’ve been privileged to work with adoption agencies and follow the progress of this new course that encourages parents to take on the children who are hardest to find a home for. We need to be more aware of these children’s plight and understand the issues they face.”
David Akinsanya added: “As someone who spent their entire childhood in care, I wish I’d have had the chance to have been adopted. Not having loving parents affected my education and desire to succeed at school and made me feel unwanted and abandoned. I hope the series prompts people to look into their lives to see if they can offer their home to a child that needs one. I know it is a big ask of people but the rewards are enormous – to both child and family.”
The season also includes an edition of Dispatches presented by Rageh Omaar and a Cutting Edge special, The Homecoming, which tells the story of journalist Rachel Roberts, who was placed in a children’s home in Doncaster at the age of four. Now, more than 30 years later, with only an old photo and fading recollections of her time there, she’s searching for the other children she shared the home with to find out what became of them. The film also takes a wider look at the care system in general and the long-lasting effects it can have on those who experience it.
The season closes with single drama The Unloved, the directorial debut from Oscar-nominated actress Samantha Morton. Morton has worked with acclaimed writer Tony Grisoni (In This World, Red Riding) to create a child’s eye view of the care system in the UK. Filmed in Morton’s home town of Nottingham, it stars Robert Carlyle (28 Weeks Later), Susan Lynch (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Craig Parkinson (Control) and Andrea Lowe (Silent Witness).The two young leads – Molly Windsor as Lucy and Lauren Socha as Lauren – were cast through open auditions held across Nottingham schools, drama groups and at The Television Workshop (which Morton attended aged 12).