22 August 2012 | davidfoley-455-972110
Review of Hell's Pavement (2009)
If ever there was an argument for a professional approach to care for disadvantaged children, then this film is surely it. Good intentions can indeed pave the road to perdition. The central character Aimee Collins is tracked through the social care network. This is not entertainment for faint-hearts. We witness self-harm and harm inflicted by others. We are shocked to find that local authority budgets can take precedence over a child's best interests. We are horrified to learn that a child can be a social commodity. We are in sympathy with the O'Connors, Aimee's first foster carers, and their plea that: "She's not some piece of office equipment that you can just send away to be repaired". When procedures dominate good practice, there can only be one conclusion. Winner of the People's Choice Award at the prestigious Beloit International Film festival in 2010, Hell's Pavement deserves a much wider audience than just social care professionals. Every tax payer in the UK has a stake in how the nation's £4 billion budget for child care should be spent. Not to be confused with Damon Knight's 1955 novel of the same name, Andy Kemp's film makes a powerful case for urgent reform.