Recommended Films

6 Balloons 

A loyal sister struggles to stay afloat while driving her heroin-addicted brother to a detox center and looking after his 2-year old daughter.

Time: 75 minutes
Where it can be found: Netflix

All Rise: For the Good of the Children

An in depth look into a trauma-informed courtroom in East Texas who are working to heal families in the child welfare system

Time: 75 minutes
Where it can be found: All Rise

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal

A documentary about the sexual abuse within the USA gymnastics team.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where it can be found: HBO, Hulu

Black, White & Us

Black, White & Us is a documentary that explores racism in America through the lives of four white families who adopt African American children and must overcome their own inherent biases to become advocates. Is there a way to fix our racial divide? These transracial adoptive families just might provide the answer.

Time: 1.25 hours
Watch: Amazon Prime


A documentary about trans-racial adoption and the search for birth family and identity.

Time: 75 minutes
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime or rent here

Florida Project

A drama following a mother and daughter who are living in a budget motel in Orlando outside of Disney World.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube

Foster: HBO Special

A documentary about the foster care system, specifically in Los Angeles County.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found
: HBO Go, HBO Now

Generation Found

Drug abuse and addiction are rampant in schools around the world but particularity in America. This documentary explores how drugs are becoming a self-medicating coping mechanism for trauma and non-trauma surviving children alike. Watch as a Texas school takes a stand and give a generation of lost children the hope and support they need.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where it can be found: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, or Vudu

Gimme Shelter

Based on a true story about a pregnant teenager who flees her abusive mother in search of her father, only to be rejected. She is forced to survive on the streets until a compassionate stranger offers a hopeful alternative. A powerful movie demonstrating the impact one person can make on a child or teen.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, Hulu,  iTunes

Gracie’s Choice

When her drug-addicted, abusive mother is sent to jail, a teenage girl fights to be legally emancipated and raise her younger siblings.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, tubiTV

Healing Neen

A documentary featuring one mother’s journey through addiction, incarceration and homelessness. This program highlights the critical role of trauma-informed care in the child welfare system.

Time: 1 hour
Where it can be found: Vimeo

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

The Vance family story began with hope in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. We learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history. The story is also available as a book.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found: Netflix

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

The story of a boy and his foster father who become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness.

Time: 1.75 hours
Where it can be found: Netflix, Amazon Prime

Instant Family

An engaging comedy/drama about foster care and sibling adoption.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, Hulu, Instant Family

Know How

A musical written and acted in by former foster youth, chronicling their journeys through the foster care system in New York City.

Time: 1.75 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Netflix

Like Dandelion Dust

A compelling drama exploring the different meanings of being a parent through the gritty, realistic lives of two families that intersect over the love of a little boy.

Time: 1.75 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube


The story of an abused teen in New York, who is pregnant with her second child and is offered an opportunity to enroll in an alternative school. She then begins her journey towards hope.

Time: 1.75 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, Hulu, iTunes, YouTube

Short Term 12

The story about the lives of teens in a foster care facility for at risk youth (RTC) as told through the eyes of their young supervisor, Grace.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube

The Day I Picked My Parents

The Day I Picked My Parents is a documentary series that follows ten foster children who are part of a revolutionary program operated by the nonprofit organization Kidsave in California, as they search to find their forever home. For the first time in their lives, they will have input into their own destiny as they decide where they want to live and who will be their family.

Time: 45 minutes each
: AE TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime

The Queen’s Gambit 

The Queen’s Gambit is a limited miniseries which follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, during her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. The story takes place in the 1950’s and 60’s. Seven episode miniseries.

Time: 7 episodes, each 1 hour
Where it can be found: Netflix

The Ride

Directed by Alex Ranarivelo, this film is based on the life of Scottish BMX biker John Buultjens (played by Shane Graham). It follows John’s journey as an abused youth who ends up in a juvenile detention facility until he is adopted by a foster family — the Buultjens. However, he is disappointed when he learns that his new family is interracial, considering how he grew up in a family of white supremacists. One day, his foster father Eldridge (Ludacris) gives him a bike. From there, he discovers the freedom of bike riding which leads to competing in BMX riding competitions.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where is can be found: Amazon Prime

They Have Names

There are 15,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system, but who are they? “They Have Names” follows five people and their families over a year as they navigate Arizona’s child welfare system. Why do these kids end up in the system? How are their cases managed? What happens when the kids grow up?

Time: 30 minutes
Watch: Amazon Prime, Arizona PBS


What does it mean to be Unadopted? That’s what Noel Anaya sets out to discover after reading a copy of his foster care file. Follow Noel in his quest for answers about his family and his experience in the foster care system. The story interweaves Noel’s own journey with three other teens who, like so many foster youth, are at an emotional crossroad that may impact the rest of their lives: whether to emancipate from the foster care system, opt into extended care, or pursue a forever family.

Time: 35 minutes
Watch: YouTube