Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger) is a social worker living in Oregon, who is assigned to investigate the family of Lillith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland), a troubled ten-year-old whose school grades have declined while an emotional rift with her parents has emerged. Emily suspects that the parents have been abusing Lillith for her lack of obedience in life. Emily's suspicion is confirmed when Lillith's parents are trying to kill her by gassing her to death in the oven at home. Emily saves Lillith with the help of Detective Mike Barron (Ian McShane). Lillith is originally ordered to be sent to the children's home, but she begs Emily to look after her instead. With the agreement of the board, Emily is assigned to take care of Lillith until a suitable Foster care comes along. In the meantime, Lillith's parents, Edward and Margaret (Callum Keith Rennie and Kerry O'Malley) are placed in a mental institution for attempted murder.