15,000 Kids and Counting

The Decision

Series 1 - Episode 1 The Decision



Emily is 18, but she looks about 12. She is heartbreakingly young to be the mother of a small baby, a baby she could lose for ever if social workers decide her relationship with the child’s father, Matthew, is too controlling and destructive.

Over three episodes cameras follow the monumentally important work of child protection officers and the adoption process from start to finish. Emily has a handful of supervised visits with her baby but a review meeting descends into chaos as Matthew becomes aggressive and abusive. It’s up to social workers to recommend to a judge what will happen to the baby, and as one says, simply, “You’ve got to make a decision; you can’t sit on the fence.” It’s a harrowing film, a window onto hopeless lives.


Documentary following the adoption process, meeting social workers, foster carers, birth parents and adoptive parents as tough decisions are made about the future of some of Britain's most vulnerable children. The first edition hears from those whose job it is to remove youngsters from their homes and recommend whether they should ever return, and the mothers and fathers who are desperately fighting to keep their kids.