Getting to know the
Clarissa has a good homelife on the surface. Despite her loving family, there’s a history of addiction and abuse that can sometimes lead this proud outsider into unpleasant situations.
Crista’s complicated relationship with her estranged mother set the stage for a life fraught with doubt and low self-esteem. Living with her nurturing Auntie Karen, Crista is inspired by her interaction with Tara to see something worthwhile in herself for the first time in her life.
Jessie was taken from the horrific circumstances of her family and placed in the foster care system. Her inability to process her history manifests itself in bad behavior like running away, which only feeds the cycle of being bounced from foster home to foster home.
Jenny is a cautionary example of how an unhealthy home containing a drug-abusing mother who spends time with questionable boyfriends can lead a young woman down a bad path. When her mom isn’t doing drugs with her, Jenny is too often left to her own devices with no clear outlet as to how she should deal with her frustrations.
Rachel D. has the expected difficulty of navigating life as a teenage girl, and it’s only compounded by needing to help care for her sick mother while she tries to deal with her own bipolar disorder. On top of it all, the young woman has been diagnosed with PTSD that developed in response to past abuse.
Rhocia is a well-rounded, overachieving child of immigrants who presents a carefree air while silently enduring her father’s battle with cancer that lingers like a dark cloud over her family.
Reanna chose to get her and her little sister into foster care after encountering another used needle at her family home. Watching how much difficulty her beloved sibling has in their new situation fills Reanna with a deep sense of responsibility and remorse.
Rachel M. is equal parts a music-loving tomboy and a confused child of divorce who feels a sense of shame for living with more means and better opportunities than most of the girls around her.
Teara, with the help of her sister Latrice, cares for their five younger siblings while their mother deals with legal troubles. This outgoing teen hopes to get into cosmetology.
Latrice, the quiet sister of Teara, dreams of getting into nursing but sometimes finds her focus affected by living in an active home that’s been raided by the police for suspected illegal activity.
Pearl is smart, funny, and seemingly self-assured, but she feels regret after speaking out against her father in a way that got her placed in foster care. Now all she wants is to be reunited with him, against the advice of the social workers looking after her. It’s a desire that led her to recant her previous allegations of physical abuse.
Larissa and her sister Anoela are impacted very differently by being in foster care. Anoela tries her best to adapt, but Larissa wants to be returned to their parents so badly that she repeatedly acts out in hopes of making it happen.
Anoela is as different from her sister Larissa as their dream jobs are…Larissa wants to become a vet while Anoela hopes to go into acting. Whenever Larissa misbehaves, the sisters are placed with a new family, and Anoela is one step further from finding her forever home.
Anna has been adopted by a family that’s supportive of her love for acting, but tensions arise when they see her behaving in what they consider to be a “lower class” fashion, similar to her classmates from different racial backgrounds.
Breanna had a rough go of it in foster care, but now that her mom has cleaned herself up, the reunited pair is hopeful they’ll find peace in a new community that won’t discriminate against them being a multiracial family.
Erica has a loving family and a deep appreciation for writing and acting, with most of her time and energy being directed at her boyfriend. As a young 14-year-old dating a mature 17-year-old, her relationship might fasttrack her into adulthood.
Madison was taken from her neglectful, drug-using parents and placed with a foster family. While she claims to be certain that she wants to become a teacher, her non-existent self-confidence makes it unclear if she will be able to take any steps in a positive direction.
AT-RISK GIRLS BEHIND THE CAMERA
In June 2007, filmmaker Tara Veneruso provided a summer filmmaking camp for girls ages 11-15. The girls came from the inner city and the suburbs, the foster care and legal systems, and the metropolitan and rural areas of Missouri. Ten years later, in 2017, Tara organized a reunion.