BBC Factual today announces Joe Swash: Teens in Care, a 1x60’ documentary for BBC One and iPlayer. In the programme, Joe will spend time with young people who are currently living in foster or residential care, and those who have recently left.
Over the years, Joe’s magnetic personality and infectious warmth has endeared him to millions of TV viewers, but now he is keen to delve into something more serious, and more personal - the untold stories of Britain’s teens in care.
On the documentary, Joe Swash commented: “I’m really thrilled to be making this documentary with the team at Firecracker for the BBC. Foster care is a subject really close to my heart as I grew up with foster siblings so it’s something I’m passionate about exploring. I’m really looking forward to meeting the young people in care and hearing their stories.’’
Nasfim Haque, BBC Commissioning Editor said: “I am delighted that Joe is bringing his voice to BBC One to explore the difficult issue of social care. Looking at questions such as why there are so many teens in care and what happens to them when they turn 18, I hope Joe can make some sense of this complex area.”
Kirsty Calvert-Ansari, Executive Producer at Firecracker Films, said: “The Firecracker team and I feel really privileged to be making this film about children living in care, and to work with Joe who brings real passion and warmth to this difficult subject. It’s such an important issue in UK, and right now seems an ever-important time to shine a light on the voices of those teens in care, against the backdrop of social services budgets slashed and the cost-of-living crisis.’’
Joe’s mother is a foster carer and has fostered two children over the years. Joe wants to explore what growing up in care in Britain is really like, by hearing directly from those who have been brought up in the care system. And he will explore the work of foster carers and the army of front-line workers who are dedicated to helping teens in care, immersing himself and volunteering in activities where possible, showing how it’s the everyday people that can help make a difference.
The documentary will pay particular focus to teens in care over the age of 16, who are the largest growing cohort in both child protection and care; the number of children aged 16 and over in care has increased by 37% in the last decade alone*.
Joe’s journey of discovery coincides with the long-awaited publication earlier this year of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, which promises a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the children’s social care system and provide children with loving, safe and stable families”.
But can it really get to the root of the problems facing teens in care? How will the cost-of-living crisis impact the transformation that is required? And what action will result from that independent review? Using his personal experiences and the review as a springboard, this is exactly what Joe wants to find out, by talking to policy makers and exploring where the signs of optimism are.
Joe Swash: Teens in Care (w/t), is a 1x60’ documentary for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events with Nasfim Haque as Commissioning Editor. Executive Producers are Kirsty Calvert-Ansari and Sam Emmery from Firecracker Films, a Tinopolis company. The Producer/Director is Alice Bowden and the documentary is being filmed by Michas Vanni. International Distribution by Passion Distribution.