POV "Tough Love"

(Rochester, NY) – Tough Love chronicles the separate journeys of Patrick Brown, a single, white father in Seattle, and Hasna “Hannah” Siddique, a newly married Bangladeshi-born mother of two in New York City, as they fight to make their families whole again after their children were taken from them, due to neglect. Through intimate, vérité footage, we witness firsthand the complex bureaucracy of America’s child welfare system and the powerful role that poverty and other challenges play in keeping parents and children apart. Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal’s Tough Love premieres Monday, July 6, 2015 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV during the 28th season of PBS’s POV, American television’s longest-running independent documentary series.

It is conservatively estimated that more than 2 million children are in state-sponsored care worldwide.* In the United States, more than 400,000 children were living without permanent families in 2013.** In 2012, 78 percent of cases reported to child protective services agencies involved findings of neglect, not abuse.***Although each state defines neglect differently, allegations often involve poverty, mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, and/or children with significant developmental challenges. Among the thought-provoking questions Tough Love raises are these: Do parents charged with neglect deserve a second chance? Who decides? Is there more that can be done to address the factors that contribute to cases of neglect?

Tough Love does not attempt to answer these questions, take sides, or set out to show failings in the child welfare system. It simply trains an unflinching eye on the ghosts of the foster care system—the individuals rarely, if ever, depicted in mainstream media—parents who love their children and are struggling to reclaim them. Tough Love is the first documentary to be granted yearlong access to film inside Seattle’s Family Treatment Court (FTC). Never before has the public been privy to the roundtable discussions between social workers and lawyers in the court, and few are aware of the multiple bureaucracies parents must manage and the services that they and their children desperately need to improve their chances of reunification.

Pictured: Natalya rides on her fathers shoulders during one of their weekend visits together.
Credit:  Courtesy of eyeWANG Pictures

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