Gain "Know How" On the Harsh Realities of Foster Care

Gain "Know How" On the Harsh Realities of Foster Care
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This was co-authored with Northeastern University Co-op Justine Fischer.

During Foster Care Month in May, Foster Skills, a social enterprise working to innovate the foster care system, is hosting a screening of Know How.

Know How, a film about the foster care system, premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival on March 8th, 2014. The Possibility Project launched a Kickstarter Campaign and exceeded their fundraising goal, raising over $35,418 to fund the movie.

The Possibility Project's Foster Care Program has produced 22 musicals with over 900 foster youth. Annually, they put on three yearlong projects to empower foster youth to resolve some of the issues in their lives through writing and performing a musical. However, the idea for a musical quickly transformed into making a movie when the foster youth working with the Possibility Project decided they wanted to reach a larger audience.

The film is not fiction nor is it a documentary, but it's a "hybrid approach for using film to create social change." Why a film by young people in foster care? The film organizers said:

Because the [foster care] system doesn't work and the human cost of its dysfunction is one few are aware of. Consider this: a few years after aging out of foster care, only 50 percent of young people will complete high school or a GED, 60 percent will be convicted of a crime, 75 percent will receive public assistance, and only 6 percent will complete a college degree. A system producing these results needs to change.

Foster care is a multi-faceted issue that needs to be addressed and this movie sheds a big light on many of the harsh realities of the foster care system. Know How brings the reality of these statistics to light in hopes of bringing awareness and creating a social movement to influence change.

The film's actors and actresses are former foster youth who grew up in NYC and used their own stories to write the script for the film. Know How weaves together the struggles and stories of five foster youth from New York City to educate and bring awareness to the problems of the foster care system. A few of the main themes are loss, addiction, abuse, homelessness, and crime. These themes are not for the sake of entertainment; they are things that foster youth deal with on a daily basis.

Niquana Clark, one of the actors and co-writers, said, "When people used to ask me about my future, I would say "yeah, when I had a future." I had stopped going to school, I was holding myself back. But through this experience I got my life together, graduated high school, and just completed my first year of college." Youth in foster care have powerful stories that need to be heard and Know How is seeking to share those stories to advocate for social change. Click here to host your own screening or figure out ways to help foster kids beat the odds.

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