The new Channel 4 programme Kids starts tomorrow, and the first episode highlights a real success story in Coventry’s approach to caring for children.
The new three-part show takes a close-up look at teenagers and their families in the care system in Coventry – and those working to help and support them.
The first episode – to be screened on 10 May - introduces Xorin, who, after being exploited as a young teen, is returning home to Coventry from a children’s home in Wales to rebuild his life with mum Kelly.
Xorin’s return has been made possible through the Council’s reunification programme.
The show follows Xorin, as he was being supported to return to the care of his mother following being in care for a number of years.
They were supported via the Reunification Project, which went live in the summer of 2021 and has so far seen 20 children return home from long term care.
Cllr Patricia Seaman, Cabinet member for Children’s Services in the city, said: “This is part of Coventry’s Family Valued way of working, which puts children and families at the heart of practice using a creative ‘high support, high challenge’ model of work to return children home, where it is safe to do so.
“The Reunification Team is innovative and has thus far been shortlisted for two national awards, which we are all very proud of. The work has been showcased to other local authorities who are considering implementing a similar way of working to also support young people in care to return home.
“We are pleased the wider public have the opportunity to see the work we have been doing and the difference it is making for children and young people in Coventry. We are really proud of ‘Kids’ and all of our young people and staff who have taken part.”
To create Kids, programme makers worked closely with Coventry City Council’s Children’s Services to provide an in-depth look at the issues facing everyone involved and to show the struggles and the triumphs of those in care.
With the number of young people in care set to reaching a record 100 000 in the next decade, and increased pressure on the system and staff, there’s never been a more important moment to tell these stories.
Packed with drama and humour, the series gets up close and personal with six remarkable teenagers - and their families – in Coventry, as they enter a crucial year in their lives and prepare to leave the care system.
The first episode also introduces 19-year-old Annabelle, who is pregnant and determined to break the cycle of care that meant her being removed from her parents at the age of five.
In other episodes, viewers will meet Byron and Bayley as they negotiate living on their own for the first time as they leave the security and support of their carers. And we join 16-year-old Havana as she takes on her first tenancy and has big questions she wants answered; she has never known her dad and now hopes to find him.
Also, after multiple placements, Kane returns to live near his mum but he wants to fully understand the reasons why he was removed as a young child and asks his social worker for access to his case files.
The show airs on 10, 17 and 24 May and is also available on All4.