Raising Cassidy

image of Raising Cassidy


Raising Cassidy is a dramatic, troubling, and at times heroic story of a woman's battle with addiction, when the stakes are the highest. Cheryl is a 33-year old stripper and crack addict who has had three children, but raised none of them. Her first child she gave up through private adoption, while the second and third were both taken before their first birthday by the Ontario Children's Aid Society (CAS). Now Cassidy, Cheryl's fourth child, has also been apprehended by CAS after Cheryl gave birth high on crack.

This documentary records Cheryl's battle to regain custody and raise her fourth daughter, Cassidy. An inspirational and provocative story; it is a defining example of the struggle to break cycles of abuse and poverty.

Narrated by the director, the film offers an intimate, first-person account of a woman torn between motherhood and addiction. Raising Cassidy follows Cheryl through the highs and lows of her ongoing struggle using a verité style. Dramatic scenes are developed through personal interviews with Cheryl and other persons involved in her recovery.

The child of an addicted mother, an addict herself for 17 years, a career stripper with a history of violence, she has turned her life around. But every day is a struggle, and the danger of sliding backwards ever present. Will she and Cassidy make it?


1 x 70 minutes


Director: Nadine Pequeneza
Writer: Nadine Pequeneza
Editor: Ricardo Acosta
Directors of Photography: Peter Walker
Composer: David Johanns


Official Selection - Canadian Perspective series at Hot Docs 2003
Official Selection - Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal 2003