The hidden camera show What Would You Do? is an interesting social experiment to find out how people react when faced with certain situations.
In an episode in which a child appears to be mistreated by a foster parent in an ice cream parlor, it’s interesting to note how those in the restaurant respond.
In the scenario created for the show, an actress shows preference for her biological son over her foster child, including not allowing the foster child to have dessert and threatening her by telling her she will go back to the foster system.
In one scenario, the actor playing the foster child is told she can’t order what the biological kid orders, with the actor playing the mother explaining, “you’re a foster kid, technically you’re not a part of the family.”
Once the child goes to the bathroom, the couple sitting next to them tells the mother: “I’m offended by the notion that you receive money from the government to take care of your foster child and spend it on something else.” When the mother counters that she’s spending the money on her son, the man says, “you should be spending it on your foster child…that’s what that money is for.”
The woman further explains that she doesn’t have a job and the foster system is how she makes money. The man’s reaction is likely the same response anyone would have, as he tells her, “That’s reprehensible. The money that you are given is there to take care of your foster child.”
In other scenarios, the foster child is given a small budget, while the biological child is told to order whatever he wants. A woman listening to the conversation says she’ll buy the child whatever she wants. Another man intervenes in a different setup, offering the child money and telling her not to listen to the foster mother.
The show notes that there are almost half a million children in the foster care system, with Arizona having one of the highest rates of foster care in the country. The video further explains that foster parents in Arizona receive about $600 a month to care for a child. “Sometimes,” they explain in the piece, “a family sees a foster kid as a way to cash in, taking the money the state provides to care for that child and spending it on themselves or their biological kids.”
People weighing in on the comments section of the What Would You Do Facebook page had a lot to say, with one person making this point: “I would have been infuriated if I ever witnessed a real life scenario like this. I would definitely speak my mind about it, but at the same time I would be afraid of making it worse for the child. You never know when standing up to someone in public who is verbally abusing their child, if the person is going to turn physically violent on the child once they get home because of you speaking up. Since we’re not allowed to prevent these types of people from leaving the store, or restaurant, etc.”