The Lost Child
Star Rating: 4/5
I hope this DVD is an indicator of just how far on-a-shoestring,
role play-reliant social care training has come. The fact that this
is a DVD for one blows the cobwebs off the technophobe perception
of top-loading VCRs, writes Graham Hopkins.
Back in the early 1990s, I remember having to use a video of
Monty Python’s parrot sketch on my courses on social care
complaints just to have a visual break. But it is the top-notch
quality of this professional production that stands out. Happily,
it is a quality that training resources – often themselves the
neglected child of social care organisations – are increasingly now
Bravely commissioned by Lancashire social services to explore
child protection and parental mental illness, the 30-minute film
for the most part convincingly traces the relationship between
Alison (Anita Parry) a make-the-best-of-it mum and Nick (Mike
Berenger) a mentally-ill study in smouldering tension.
It is seen in flashback through the eyes of their 16-year-old
daughter, Tina (Frankie Waller), the acting star of the piece –
despite her accent occasionally wandering up and down the M1. Her
line, “I’m not a child – don’t think I’ve ever been a child,” is
the film’s sound central message.
Unfortunately, the mental health social worker (Ben Tinniswood)
comes across as an embarrassing parody, preferring procedure
manual-talk to everyday English.
For example, when Alison says she can’t make Nick take his
pills, he replies, “Well, he is a free individual with rights and
as such we must respect his liberty to choose at all times”.
Nonetheless, in my social care days I would have loved decent
stuff like this. And if it signals that the make-do approach to
social care training is no more, is deceased, is pushing up the
daisies, and has finally snuffed it, well hurrah for that.