Monica Hart was the other filmer behind the camera during this film, she's also has had an on going relationship with Anna from when she first entered the foster care system. Monica spoke to Open about her experience filming in such an sensitive environment and how a film like this can really shape the way we view the Foster Care system on a working level.
My name is Monica Hart and I work for AC.Care in Mt Gambier, SA. I am the Manager of the Foster Care Services program for the Limestone Coast, Murray Lands and the Riverland. 6 years ago, when I was a Support Worker in this program, I met Anna.
I spent quite a bit of time with Anna and her foster carer, when she first came into care, until she was settled into her new home with Leanne and Stephen.
It took Anna a while to get used to her new life. As for all young people who enter the foster care system, she had to get used to not living with her biological family. For Anna it was a bit different. She was older than most children are, when they enter care and we thought it would be very hard for her to adjust.
She was shy, and scared about what was happening to her. As I got to know her, I could see that she was very strong and brave as well. As it turned out, she coped. You will see in the film, that while there have been ups and downs, Anna is now very much part of her family.
A couple of years ago, I approached Leanne, to see if she would ask Anna if she would be willing to use her experiences of growing up in the foster care system, to support other young people in care. Life for young people in care, can be very confusing and hard, I thought that Anna could share some of her positive experiences and maybe make a difference.
Leanne spoke to Anna who liked the idea too. Because there are a lot of issues around confidentiality and because life sometimes gets in the way of great plans, it took a while until we found a way to do this.
Initially, ac.care’s Marketing Manager, Anne Hinkly-Tyler, linked up with Marcus Thompson from ABC Open and talked about the idea of interviewing a young person on film.
Families SA were very supportive, so we continued on. My role has been to liaise between Families SA, ABC Open and Anna, Leanne & Stephen. One of my roles was to ensure that Anna’s biological family’s confidentiality was respected. I supported Anna, Leanne and Stephen during the filming sessions and attempted to be Anna’s personal stylist! Nervous to begin with, they were old hands by the end.
The questions and answers seemed to bring new thoughts and feelings up for all of them, in a positive way. It was a real privilege to witness this. Marcus and I think that Anna should take up a career in journalism!
The idea behind the making of this short film about Anna, was to share her thoughts with other young people in care and to show a snap shot of the life that Leanne, Stephen and Anna have created for themselves, in the hope that more people might choose to share their lives with a young person.
It’s not just babies and toddlers who are in need. There are many young people out there, who deserve a chance at a different sort of life. A life with hope. With the positive support, the love and care she has received from Leanne, Stephen and their families, Anna has been able to make some great choices about the direction her life.
She is strong and smart, with a great sense of humour. All of this has helped her become the young woman she is today. Someone with options and plans for the future.