Q&A: “The Fosters” Creator Peter Paige

Fosters WP 11“The Fosters,” a television drama about a same-sex couple raising foster youths will return to screens tonight, Jan. 13, at 9pm EST. The show first aired on June 3 of last year, and has been picked up by ABC Family for a second full season.

Chronicle Editor-in-Chief John Kelly discussed the show’s past and present with co-creator and writer Peter Paige.

The Chronicle of Social Change: What sort of homework did you do on child welfare to educate yourself for that aspect of the show?

Peter Paige: I’m on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. As we were developing the show, the center was just getting a big grant from the Obama Administration to do work on LGBT kids in foster care. So I was exposed to a lot of information through that.

As we got further into the process, we connected with social workers and kids. I have a friend who runs a group home.

Chronicle: Did you look to other art – books, film, other shows, whatever – to help you in the conception of The Fosters?

Paige: No, we didn’t. Much of what’s done around foster care is really horror, you know. To be honest, unless something is part of the zeitgest at the moment, I don’t care what’s been done before.

Chronicle: We get pretty strong feedback consistently on articles that pertain to foster care and adoption, so you must get a ton as a major TV show. What have you heard from current or former foster youths that most affected you and the show?

Paige: NPR [National Public Radio] did a story where they watched the pilot with foster youths. If you haven’t heard that, you really should. What those kids say in that piece and what we hear a lot is: ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m seeing this.’

The only thing they reject is that it’s a pretty happy ending. Congresswoman [Karen] Bass brought a group of former foster youths to watch who all saw pieces they really specifically related to. The recurring theme though was, “I wish I had a family like that.”

Chronicle: There was some controversy with foster care and adoption providers in recent years as more states brought civil unions or marriage into effect. In Illinois, the state ended contracts of some of their Catholic providers because they wouldn’t recruit and train same-sex couples. What are your thoughts on that?

Paige: My personal belief is that if the government is going to fund you, then you need to provide services to all people who qualify. I’m all for freedom of religion, I’m not at all for tax dollars going to service a portion of the population based on discrimination.

Chronicle: The first season comes out of the gate in the first episode with some really great moments, like Mariana’s birth mother coming back, ashamedly asking for money from her daughter.

Paige: Thank you. We’re trying to make them all human beings, not entirely good or bad, just different degrees of broken. Everyone is just doing the best they can given what they have.

Chronicle: What child welfare-related themes are covered in Season Two?

Paige: We’re continuing to explore the integration into a family. And Callie spends time in a group home after violating probation.

John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change

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John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change
About John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change 1212 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change. Reach him at jkelly@chronicleofsocialchange.org.


  1. I am so happy that The Fosters is renewed for a third season sad news is the cw network shows are on from 8PM 10pm so i have to record them on my dvr and also i can watch them on on demand too

    The Fosters

  2. “I grew up in the system and was one of the lucky ones and adopted at 16”

    I wonder if black people ever said that:

    “I was one of the lucky ones to be sold”

    To hear children say it…. and the adults encourage them…. I’m not sure what is more insane… the fact adoption is human trafficking… or the fact everyone is okay with business and corporations selling us for $6, 000 to $45, 000 threw the court system even internationally sometimes….

    I know inmates become institutionalized but to see it happen to kids and those who run these corrupt practices…. exploit it…

    What is wrong with you people?

  3. That show represent what it was like to grow up in care… if your one of the lucky ones.

    It’s far far far worse then this for TV (With a for TV rating) and does even begin to accurately describe what we go threw. If it was it would not be able to be shown on TV.

    This show and the intention though noble… will not address the real issues… which starts at your homeless population and works it’s way back to “child services”.

    The system is a joke, those who run it are a joke and those of us lucky enough to survive… are stuck watching people like you do more damage then you know… by thinking this fit for TV crap has any real resemblance to life in care.

    For all I survived in that hell hole…… and all you clowns wanna do is cop to the lesser plea… offer us money threw lawyers and not to talk about it…

    Funny how that is not mentioned in the show.

    Sell us to a pedophile by “accident” then offer us money when they do it twice… like we are some kinda prostitutes.

    Have you ever seen your own adoption papers?
    I have… and the fact I got to see a receipt for someone buying me threw the courts…. and a 3rd party agency that “protected” me from a normal life with my real family.

    You people are fucking delusional. I hope you see a receipt with your name as the sold merchandise one day…. so I can come along and slap you in the back on the head and ask if you enjoy the “public service”.

    You people are a joke and will just make their lives worse…..

    The internet is full of the real kids from care telling anyone who will listen to them what is really going on.

    But yet you look to government and media instead of the kids directly?

    Are you afraid of what they will tell you.. and you will find out what you have allowed to happen to them for decades at the hands of for PROFIT business and corporations?

    Afraid you would actually have to help them out instead of watching tv and being “touched” by what you think is happening….

    Please go home the last thing we need is your help…. it’s your tax bucks that made us the victims in the first place… a little to late to run in and pretend to be the heroes at this point.

  4. I really like this serie, but in the Netherlands you can’t see this serie on the tv. I watched always online one day later. For this serie s everything inpossible <3

  5. I Really Look Up To Mariana [ Cierra ] She`s Amazing And Sets A Great Example Of A Teenage Girl . Mariana Has An Attitude and Did Make A Several Mistakes But Cierra`s Character Shows That Not Every Teenage Girl Is Perfect And Has Her Flaws And Jesus [ Jake T Austin ] Puberty Must Have Hit This Boy With A Few Trains A Couple Of Times He`s Gorgeous ! <3
    I Love The Mom`s So Much Theyre So Inspiring .
    They Show That Mothers Are Not Always Cold Hearted And Very Nice And Caring And Not All Foster Familys Are Cruel :')
    The Fosters Is An Overall Amazing Show ! 😀

  6. I loved season one, and looking forward to more of season two. My mother and I watch it every Monday night, and it’s a countdown all week until the next Monday. We have it set to record on our DVR just in case we are stuck somewhere and miss a few minutes! I can’t wait to see the rest of season 2. I hope this show continues for many years to come!!

  7. I really enjoy the show. I grew up in the system and was one of the lucky ones and adopted at 16. I had a score of 4 so it’s a miracle. Another similiiarity that I can really relate to is I’m gay and I have a son from a previous marriage and I find I identify with Stef’s character, also coincidently my bio dad’s last name is Foster. So keep them coming 🙂

  8. Peter, this very special 2 me! I watched QaF and luved U and when I found out U were doing this I cried! I have LGBT friends and family that have children so this touched a special place in my heart! U R amazing Peter! Mad Luv 4 U!

  9. This show is so amazing I love how accurate some of the show is. As a foster mom I do however wish that they would dive more into all the visits and apts that kids in foster care have. and the fact that most foster families have a circle of foster families that they hang out with. We all know what each other goes through and the support is priceless. the scrutiny and positive comments that people make about being a foster parent you don’t.

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