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The Cycle of Pain

Concept art for the feature film "Wretch Like Me".

As many of you know, in the past 10 years we've inadvertently learned all about the homeless, foster care, adoption, and justice systems. I've compiled interesting stats about this cycle that so many families endure for generations. Here are some of those statistics that I found astonishing:

1 in 30 children in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness.

30% of children experiencing homelessness are put into foster care.

Children who go into foster care are the victims of either severe abuse and/or neglect perpetrated by their parent/guardian.

90% of those raised in the foster care system will go to jail at some point in their lives.

74% of incarcerated adults spent time in foster care.

Ex convicts are 13 times more likely to experience homelessness.

60% of all child sex trafficking victims were in the foster care system.

35% of those exiting the foster care system develop a drug use disorder.

50% of kids in foster care will not graduate high school.

50% of the homeless population were in the foster care system.

75% of homeless youth drop out of high school.

80% of people experiencing homelessness have at least one chronic health condition. 36% of these people do not get the prescriptions they need to help their condition.

38% of people experiencing homelessness abuse drugs or alcohol.

50% of people experiencing homelessness have children. 30% of those children are put into foster care. The other 70% experience homelessness with one of their parents; likely their mother.

Foster care, homelessness, drug and sexual abuse, lack of education, poverty, lack of (mental and physical) health care, and incarceration are all seemingly linked. The U.S. Government even spends over $84 billion on incarceration - as well as homeless and foster care. (Not to mention how much more each state pays above and beyond this number.) It goes without saying, but as a taxpayer - I'm having a hard time seeing any positive ROI in the stats above.

Now, just because I'm pointing these stats out doesn't mean that it's the only part of the story. I know from personal experience (and other family's stories) that it is possible for this generational cycle of pain to end. The truth is that for as many positive stories I've heard there are 50 negative - and I've never heard one that listed money as the solution to the problem. It takes a whole lot more than that; it takes a commitment from people outside of these communities to be a part of the change. And honestly, that's why it never has - and likely never will.

That said, these statistics are in line with my personal experience and I'm currently in the throes of writing a fictional screenplay (Wretch Like Me) about my experiences with this generational cycle of pain; as I've come to intimately understand it. I'm coming to terms with my successes, failures, and goals to try and make a better future with those around me. I'm thankful to have learned things worth sharing in an art form that I love so dearly. It's the best way I know to communicate what I've learned in an engaging and effective way.

We shoot the proof of concept trailer next month and I'm so very excited to share the look, themes, and experience in the coming months. It's an important story and I'm thankful for the ability to tell it with so many talented people I call friends.

Stay tuned to the movie's Instagram for more sneak peeks here:

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