In October 2016, Jack Kowalski took his 10-year-old daughter Maya to a hospital emergency room seeking help for extreme pain related to her documented neurological condition: complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Just days later, Maya was declared a ward of the state after physicians suspected her mother, Beata, of child abuse. For the couple, it marked the beginning of a nightmare as they were cut off from their daughter who was held at the hospital against her will. With little recourse, they had no option but to comply. In the excruciating months that followed, Jack and Beata found themselves at the mercy of a flawed child welfare system and ultimately embroiled in a David and Goliath legal battle with devastating consequences.
Directed by Tribeca alum Henry Roosevelt (Sixth of June), Take Care of Maya traces the Kowalskis’ harrowing plummet into the complex system referred to by some as the “child welfare industry.” Combining intimate access to a deeply personal story with elements of investigative journalism, this impactful film examines the lingering trauma left behind when families are torn apart. As infuriating as it is riveting, Maya’s story is a heartbreaking call to action.––Andrea Passafiume