When her alcoholic father breaks his leg and ends up at the hospital, the 11-year old girl must find someone to stay with or she’ll be placed in foster care.
There are plenty of stories that could be told and need to be told about young girls who are compelled to find their way in the world because of irresponsible, drug addicted and abusive parents.
But a reality check:
For either scenario to occur the worker assigned to her case would have to be not just uncaring but also incompetent and the system would have to be dysfunctional.
The premise assumes that foster care is the worst of all outcomes. Yes, the system is flawed. But even if the social worker is uncaring it does not logically follow that the foster parents to whom the young girl would be assigned will also be uncaring. In fact, most foster parents are likely to be competent and caring — certainly more so than the alcoholic father in this scenario. Or a homeless stranger.
Going into foster care may not be the happiest outcome — but it doesn’t logically follow that because it’s not a “Hollywood ending” it must be the worst of all options.
Also in the eyes of the law, an 11 year old youth is too young to be considered be a competent judge of whom she she will “adopt” as an alternative parent. And it would be SOP for the social worker to verify anyone claiming to be a qualifying as next of kin for the purpose of assuming custody of a minor.
And why would the father play along with her ruse, anyway, and affirm that a complete stranger is his brother? And even if he does, how does it follow that staying with a homeless stranger is better than staying a foster parent who has had to go through a background check?
And where is the mother in all this?
Why MUST the young girl avoid being put into the protective custody of a bona fide, certified foster parent?
What is the story you are trying to tell? The idea has changed a lot and I’m just wondering what is at the root of all of this?
I am also wondering the same thing. I have lost track of the ball, myself. We can keep suggesting different variants of your story, but I sense we do you no good. You seem to adapt and mix and come up with new loglines that may or may not make things clearer in your head.
Can you tell us what moves you, so that we could help towards that direction?
What is the story you are trying to tell? The idea has changed a lot and I’m just wondering what is at the root of all of this? All of your other loglines seemed to focus on the relationship between the girl and her father… this one seems to be more about just the girl. Or possibly between the girl and whoever she ends up staying with. The protagonist has changed from the father to the girl too. Is there a theme you’re trying to explore?
As dpg said, where is the mother? Has she no other relatives? It seems that the girl is being placed in care solely for the time it takes for the father’s leg to heal… surely for this story to have the maximum dramatic impact he needs to be there because of his alcoholism – he’s drinking himself to death and is no longer fit to take care of her. Imagine a scene where an 11 year old girl comes home from school to find her alcoholic, yet loving, father passed out in his own piss and vomit… and she knows that if she calls an ambulance she’ll be taken away from him but if not he could die. That’s powerful! Why trivialise it with a broken leg. This story should be about a girl trying to help her father get sober as she bounces around temporary homes – it’s about the strength of an 11 year old girl in the worst of circumstances and the power of her love for her father.
Hope this helps.
Don’t start with “When,” start with the protagonist. Should be ‘a’ girl, not “the” girl. Placement in foster care in and of itself is not high enough stakes; given her father’s state it sounds like an improvement. Also we don’t need to know he’s broken his leg AND ended up in the hospital, as the latter is a given following the former and former is irrelevant when the point is that he’s unavailable to care for her…but again, given his alcoholism, it appears he wasn’t doing such a great job parenting before. And a broken leg might only keep him admitted a few days at most; does she not have friends to stay with for such a short time? I’m just not seeing the dramatic potential here; perhaps if he were forced into rehab and would be gone for a month or more, and she’s avoiding not mere foster care but a particular unwelcome relative, for whatever reason…
Thanks for the great input. I’m not sure where the brother idea came from, my thought was that she asks a teacher at school whom she feels confidence for. But I agree, perhaps foster care doesn’t sound too bad, the only bad thing about it is that she realizes she might not get back to her own home – ever. Because when everyone realizes how her life is…
Yes, I do agree that foster care would be better, but if you’re 11 years old, and your experience with grown ups is that they aren’t that grown up, and that you don’t know what you’ll get… The mother died a few years back.
I’ll ponder and get back to you guys with another logline for this. I just posted another idea though.
Again, I’m grateful for all the really good feedback :-). You pose good questions.