Review of The Fosters

The FostersThis entire review can be summed up in one sentence, which I said to Max after watching:

“I’m pretty sure that’s not how foster care works.”

You may not know it, but ABC Family recently premiered a new show, The Fosters. Teri Polo and Sherri Shaun are Stef Foster and Lena Adams, the moms to a non-traditional, multiracial, adoptive family. Stef is white, Lena is black, and they’re lesbians. Brandon, Stef’s biological son from her previous (heterosexual) marriage, is apparently Latino and white. The twins, Marianna and Jesus, adopted from foster care at around age 8, are Latino. Enter Callie, a white teenager just out of juvie. And go.

Why am I not sure this is how foster care works? Well, Callie is placed with the moms when Lena calls their old caseworker to talk about setting up a meeting between Marianna and her birthmom. Apparently, Callie really needs a place to go where there aren’t male authority figures. Without talking to Stef first, Lena says yes. Callie arrives and she doesn’t even have a bed – she has to sleep on the couch.

Now, I don’t know much about foster care, but my understanding is that there are two things that all foster parents must have: a current home study and a bed for the child. I even think the bed has to be in a room with a door, if Judging Amy is any authority on the matter.

If you plan on watching The Fosters – and I do recommend it – please note that there are spoilers below.


(spoiler space)


Callie is looking for Jude, who turns out to be her younger brother. Callie’s foster father beat her, and when he caught Jude wearing one of the foster mom’s dresses, the foster father beat him too. Callie couldn’t stop him, so she ran out and smashed up his car. Hence, she ended up in juvie. Callie and Brandon go to the former foster home to rescue Jude. Ultimately, Stef, who is a cop, arrests the foster father, and she and Lena decide that Jude and Callie will both be coming home with them.

Once again, I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works. I’m pretty sure that an inactive foster family without any beds can take a child from another foster home and put them in their own.

But hey… it’s TV. And it’s definitely more accurate than Parenthood.

I’m going to keep watching The Fosters, on Hulu, as we don’t get cable. I imagine I’ll be writing more about it. If you’ve seen it, please leave a comment. Let me know what you think!

14 thoughts on “Review of The Fosters

  1. I haven’t seen this show (or even heard about it!), but I am always fascinated by media’s portrayal of foster care. It seems like there are two extreme stereotypes: foster care is a horrible place where children get beaten, starved, and die or (on the opposite end) foster care is a wonderful place where children find all the love, nurturing and understanding they need. The truth is in the middle, I think.

    • I do think the show is trying to be more realistic, but I’m not sure it’s going to succeed. I agree that the truth is in the middle. You were a foster parent; you might want to see what you think of the show.

  2. We watched it, Robyn! I agree–I had a few “huh?” moments. I will say that the suddenness of the placement and the fact that she didn’t have anything–not even a toothbrush–was spot on. But yeah–I wondered if they were still licensed. They most definitely would have to have a room (even a shared one) for her with x amount of space that was “hers.” Of course, the requirements vary from state to state…
    Also, while one could take a placement without consulting one’s partner, I would expect that to be the case after some sort of discussion and subsequent agreement. Clearly, that had not happened. I didn’t view them as foster parents as much as parents who happened to previously adopt from the foster care system. There’s quite a difference. I didn’t see Child Services anywhere after the initial placement, and no way could they just take the brother, Jude, after arresting foster Dad. We’ll keep watching it–next episode is tonight, and I have the DVR set.

    • Exactly – parents who had previously adopted from the foster care system. I really wanted to see them be experienced foster parents. I’m going to keep watching to see where they go, but this isn’t my favorite show.

  3. I thought it was kind of … boring. But I will stick with it for a bit, since the subject matter interests me.

    I actually thought the most unrealistic thing about it was how the mom who brought her home didn’t even bother showing her around the house (the kid had to ask where the bathroom was).

    That said, our foster agency WILL place a child in a home with no bed, with the provision one will be purchased right away. They even have a cot they bring over when the need presents itself.

    • I agree, kind of boring. I’m not a fan of most of the acting, and I don’t feel/see any chemistry between Lena and Stef.
      And yes, I thought it was unrealistic that the mom wouldn’t show her the house either!

  4. The only time we had a placement without a “bed” was an emergency middle of the night call for a toddler who could sleep in a pack and play for a few days until we got a crib. She had her own room with a door.

    I hate those shows that inaccurately portray foster care. I think they’re overstretching with all of the “themes” of lesbian-interracial-couple with mixed adopted-step-foster kids. All they need now is to have the foster girl get pregnant then try to raise the kid as a single mom and her brother to come out of the closet. {eyeroll}

    • I think they’re overreaching a little bit too. I think they’re fixing to have the younger brother be gender non-conforming, as it was the fact that he was trying on one of the foster mother’s dresses that caused foster father to beat him.
      I’m still going to watch for awhile and see where they go, though.

  5. Pingback: Why I Am Recommending “The Fosters” – Don't We Look Alike?

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