From Place to Place The Short Film follows the lives of six young adults who recently aged out of Montana’s foster care system. After being removed from their families and placed into temporary foster care, each of them went on the all too common journey of going from place to place during their years in foster care. Rather than being connected into a life-long family, they bounced around between foster families, group homes and residential treatment centers. On their 18th birthday, they were forced to leave the only thing they could depend on. Despite the best efforts of extremely hard working and well-intentioned professionals, our system let these kids down. Even though it was too late for them, these courageous young adults decided to make this film because they wanted to make the system better for the next generation of kids in foster care.
One year into production of The Short Film, Mandy and Raif were invited to Washington DC by the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth. The Caucus wanted to organize an event that would bring to Capitol Hill the voice of the typical young adult who aged out of America’s foster care system. Mandy and Raif screened the Short Film for the Caucus and participated in a roundtable discussion with some of the most influential child welfare leaders in the country. The Caucus also asked the three professionals featured in The Short Film to participate in the event; permanency expert Kevin Campbell, trauma expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer. This trip changed the path of From Place to Place. Rather than being about six young adults who aged out of foster care in Montana, From Place to Place became a feature film about America’s foster care system and the two youth who decided to change the system that raised them. While still in production, The Short Film began to spread across the country as a tool for training, education and advocacy purposes. Ultimately, the result was two distinctly different films that are achieving the six characters’ original vision, to make the system better for the next generation of kids in foster care.
Kevin is an internationally known youth permanency expert and founder of the Center for Family Finding and Youth Connectedness. Kevin developed Family Finding, a set of strategies being used throughout the United States and in the Province of British Columbia to find lifelong supports for children and young people in foster care. He has provided technical assistance to 40 states and many other jurisdictions throughout the United States, including Chicago, New England, Washington DC, North Carolina, Philadelphia, North Dakota and 14 California Counties. Family Finding was presented to the United States Supreme Court in 2004 and to the US House of Representatives in 2008. Kevin’s work has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes with Leslie Stahl, as well as in the Wall Street Journal and other publications in the United States.
Justice Max Baer
Justice Baer was elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after serving 10 years as the Administrative Judge in Allegheny County Court’s Family Division. Justice Baer’s leadership has been essential to the development of Pennsylvania’s Office of Children and Families in the Courts and the Children’s Roundtables. Since 2003, Pennsylvania has significantly reduced their number of kids in foster care and has become recognized as a national leader in child welfare.
Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
Dr. van der Kolk is a Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, Medical Director of the Trauma Center, and co-director of the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Networks. Dr. van der Kolk has been active as a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of posttraumatic stress and related phenomena since the 1970s. He was co-principal investigator of the DSM IV Field Trials for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His current research is on how trauma affects memory processes and brain imaging studies of PTSD. Dr. van der Kolk has also been contributing to the development of the proposed diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder.