One Hope United partnered last week with attorney and producer/writer Jay Paul Deratany to host a screening of his new film, Foster Boy, followed by a talkback and reception.
Foster Boy tells the story of an African American teenager who was physically and sexually abused by an older foster care teen after the two were placed in the same home by a for-profit foster care company.
View the event photos on our Facebook page here
As a nonprofit agency providing foster care services, One Hope United hosted the screening to share the powerful film with its supporters and bring attention to the danger that arises when organizations put profits ahead of children’s well-being.
“A child is not a commodity,” Deratany told a capacity audience at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. “You have to give a kid a chance. You have to give them some hope.”
The movie was inspired by three true foster care abuse cases in which Deratany was involved and stars Matthew Modine as the attorney and Academy Award-winner Louis Gossett Jr. as the judge. Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, a child advocate himself who took a special interest in the movie’s topic, is an executive producer.
In the talkback, moderator Charles A. Montorio-Archer, President and CEO of One Hope United, asked Deratany about the role of the arts in raising awareness about this and other serious topics.
“We have to tell stories of abuse, we have to tell stories about racial prejudice, we have to tell stories that bring us back together as a country, that unite us again,” Deratany answered. We have to come together to conquer some of the problems that we have.”
Melissa Webster, One Hope United’s Executive Director of Residential and Day Treatment Services, spoke on the panel about the film’s realistic depiction of the effects of trauma on youth.
“One thing that trauma robs from kids is that sense that they have a future,” said Webster. “A big part of what we do is help them find that hope so they can start to see that they’re going to have a future as well, that they have a chance to have a different kind of life.”
“One Hope United does some great work,” Deratany said. “We have to give recognition to a great group like this, because we need to continue to fight for our kids.”
To support children in foster care who have experienced trauma, you may donate to One Hope United here.