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in Foster Care for Ten Days

Synopsis of film

JANE is a bright, active but non-verbal child.  It is not easy for the foster mother to make a relationship with her before the separation, because while the mother is still there a child of 17 months is not much interested in people outside the family.

For the first few days in the Robertson home Jane is active and cheerful, but there is an unusual amount of laughter; she tries persistently to elicit smiles from her foster-family.  When father visits she sometimes appears indifferent, and even to keep a distance from him; but when he leaves she cries and clings to him. Although her own home is near, and Jane knows the entrance well, she avoids it for several days; then she shakes her head at the empty garden and locked door, and tearfully resists being taken back into her foster home.  During the last few days she is impatient and plays with less concentration.

At 17 months Jane is unable to retain a clear image of the absent mother and becomes very attached to the foster mother.  But when the mother reappears on the tenth day Jane goes to her instantly, with gesture which urge the mother back into her maternal role.

Although the reunion is happy there are also problems.  Because of the strong attachment it is some weeks before Jane can give up her foster mother. And after the strain of the separation she needs much mothering, but now has to share her mother with the new baby.  The film ends on the problem for the mother - that she now has to meet the needs of two very small children.