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In order to keep current with issues that relate to the volunteer role, our volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education per year.

Continuing Education at CASA

Due to current limits on social gatherings, all in person CASA of the Rolling Plains continuing education programs are being rescheduled. In the meantime, please look into the many virtual programs, webinars, podcasts, movies, TV programs and books listed to continue learning.

Recommended Audio Programs

Aged Out: Stories that Built Us

SMU School of Law conducts interviews with Texas youth who have aged out of foster care as they share insights into their experiences.

Time: 10 episodes, each podcast is 20-30 minutes

Where it can be foundSpotify

Aging Out Institute:

Preparing Foster Youth For Adulting: Interview with Franco Vega

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Franco Vega, Executive Director and Founder of The Right Way Foundation in Los Angeles, California. Franco and Lynn discuss The Right Way Foundation employment program for foster youth, different strategies to help youth age out of foster care successfully, and the challenges that they are trying to manage during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Time: 55 minutes
Where it can be foundAOI website

Preparing Foster Youth For Adulting: Interview with Brittani Kindle

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Brittani Kindle, Program Director at Safe Families PLUS in Chicago, Illinois. Brittani and Lynn discuss the Safe Families PLUS mentoring program, different strategies to help youth age out of foster care successfully, and opportunities for the foster system to improve how they prepare youth for independence.

Time: 45 minutes
Where it can be found: AOI website

Preparing Foster Youth For Adulting: Interview with Deborah Santiago

Aging Out Institute is launching a new podcast series focused on identifying the strategies and resources that effectively prepare older foster youth for aging out of foster care. This first episode is a little indulgent, as it is an interview with Deborah Santiago, my sister and fellow traveler through foster care when we were young.

Time: 50 minutes
Where it can be foundAOI website

Black Boys & Men: Changing the Narrative Podcast – Seasons One and Two  

The Black Boys & Men: Changing the Narrative podcast series brings together thought leaders from the public and private sectors to analyze stereotypes and dispel myths concerning Black boys and men, while providing facts and best practices for those working with these often marginalized populations. The series calls into question issues of systemic racism and oppression and provides concrete steps to prevent and address many of the issues that disproportionately affect Black boys and men, including health disparities, incarceration, trauma, and violence.

Time: Various, 15 minutes to 1 hour
Where it can be found
: Stitcher, Google Play, Apple Podcasts, or online Season One /  Season Two

CASA on the Go

Texas CASA has launched CASA on the Go, a new continuing education podcast for CASA volunteers and staff. Through short, dynamic episodes, this podcast connects CASA volunteers with subject matter experts discussing topical issues connected to child welfare. Topics include:

Educational Advocacy
Advocating for Health Relationships
Understanding and Undoing Disproportionality

Time: Each episode is 20 minutes
Where it can be foundSpotify

Child In Mind- Why Do Some People Self-harm?

Self-harming behavior is becoming more common according to recent statistics and particularly among young people between 16 and 25 years But what is self-harming behavior, why do people do it and what help is available for those affected?

Time: 25 minutes
Where can it be foundSoundcloud

Child Welfare Information Gateway Podcast Series

The following episodes are recommended for CASA volunteers:

Episode 4: Secondary Traumatic Stress
Episode 6: Engaging Fathers Part 1
Episode 7: Engaging Fathers Part 2
Episode 9: Protective Factors Part 1
Episode 10: Protective Factors Part 2
Episode 11: Supporting Kinship Caregivers Part 1
Episode 12: Supporting Kinship Caregivers Part 2
Episode 16: Family Group Decision-Making: Implementing Family Group Conferences
Episode 18: Child Welfare Then and Now
Episode 22: Prevention – Connection Matters
Episode 41: Birth-Foster Parent Mentoring Teams
Episode 48: Changing the Face of Foster Care

List of topics: Podcast series
Where it can be found: Apple Podcasts, GooglePlay, Spotify, Stitcher, and SoundCloud

Engaging Youth in Foster Care

As youth in care begin to develop their own sense of self and independence, you may experience difficulty engaging them to participate in their case plans or helping them realize the impacts their decisions may have on their long-term future.

Time: 30 minutes
Where it can be foundListen here

Foster Care, Adoption, Runaway: The Story of One Child’s Reality

Emma Williams, a woman who was in and out of several foster homes, shelters, and adoptive family situations in her life, will give you amazing insight into the sometimes hard realities facing children in foster care.

Time: 30 minutes
Where is can be foundListen here

Foster Care and One Caring Adult

A podcast featuring an interview with Josh Shipp, an author, global youth empowerment expert and acclaimed speaker. Josh is a former at-risk foster kid who “mastered the art of getting kicked out” of foster homes, he is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his ground-breaking work with teens. His new book, The Grown Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans, explores strategies for parents, educators and others working with teens.

Time: 30 minutes
Where it can be foundListen here


The Carpenter Vs. The Gardener, podcast exploring two models of modern parenting. Many parents think they can shape their child into a particular kind of adult. Psychologist Alison Gopnik says the science suggests otherwise. A conversation with Gopnik, who thinks we’d all be better off if we had a different understanding of the relationship between parents and kids.

Time: 30 minutes
Where it can be foundListen here

Launching Your Daughter

Launching Your Daughter podcast was created to support parents and caregivers in empowering their tween and teen girls as they prepare for young adulthood. Guests will be interviewed to discuss topics such as anxiety, perfectionism, depression, trauma, relationship struggles, budgeting time and money, nutrition and self-care. Conversations about mindfulness, self-compassion, mind, body and spirit connections, holistic and alternative approaches used in psychotherapy and counseling will also be explored.

Time: 30 minutes
Where it can be foundListen here

Meth Addiction in Hawaii

A podcast series about meth addiction in Hawaii that really puts a human face on the problem. The episodes range from 15-20 minutes each.

Time: Various time lengths
Where it can be foundHawaii Public Radio

The Perpetual Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse (Isn’t What You Think)

This week’s guest addresses some misconceptions of child sexual abuse, speaks on the survivors of incest, and the fact that much of the continual trauma suffered by these victims is due to keeping silent about the event. She also discusses the Four Rules of Sexual Consent and addresses the question of whether it is possible to have one’s abuser in one’s life and still be healthy.

Time: 25 minutes
Where it can be foundListen here

Targeted: True Crime Domestic Violence

Targeted Podcast True Crime Domestic Violence investigates cases of family violence each season, using academic research to help interpret the events so we can become better advocates.

Time: 30 minutes
Where it can be foundListen here

Teaching and Mental Health with Jessica Minahan

Although much has been written about the impact of such psychiatric difficulties on learning, teachers often have little guidance on effective strategies to support students with mood, anxiety and other mental health concerns. So what can be done to help these students?

Time: 55 minutes
Where it can be foundListen here


Webinars Available Anytime

Adverse Childhood Experience Implications for Policymakers and Practitioners

David Murphey, research fellow and DataBank director at Child Trends, will review the science of childhood trauma, and the prevalence of childhood experiences that can create it. Trauma, or toxic stress, can have lasting harmful effects on multiple body-systems, affecting lifetime health and well-being. Drawing on recently released data collected nationwide, the presentation will highlight implications for those who work with children and families, or on their behalf.

Time: 1 hour
Click here

Advocacy for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Children

This hour-long Texas CASA webinar was recorded in May of 2019 and features speakers Dr. Jon and Shelly Bergeron. Jon Bergeron is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with foster and adoptive families struggling with attachment and trauma-related difficulties. Shelly Bergeron is the Statewide Family Services Coordinator in the Educational Resource Center on Deafness at the Texas School for the Deaf.

Time: 45 minutes
Click here

Anxiety Disorders in Children

Dr. Charles Hallmark, Grace Psychological Services, discusses anxiety disorders in children, including the different types and identifiers that parents can look for, along with a focus on anxiety in children with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities.

Time: 1 hour
Click here

Best Practices for Communicating with Victims of Sex Trafficking

This webinar, hosted by the National Criminal Justice Training Center, provides an overview of trauma-informed techniques for communicating with victims and survivors of sex trafficking. Gather strategies for building rapport and fostering open communication for the various professionals that victims of sex trafficking interact with in justice, advocacy, and recovery.

Time: 1 hour
ViewClick here

Building Trauma-Informed Services for Children, Youth, and Parents Impacted by Domestic Violence

This is a 10-part recorded webinar series that can be accessed at any time. Topics include: Children and Domestic Violence, Caring for Others While Caring for Ourselves, Children Grow in the Context of Their Relationships, Understanding Children’s Responses to DV and Other Trauma, Responding to the Needs of Children and Families Impacted by DV, Engaging and Supporting Parents

ViewClick here

Calming Children in Crisis

A major challenge in working with children who have experienced trauma is helping them manage the strong emotions often experienced as a result. Feelings of emotional pain resulting from maltreatment and loss often present as anger. Children may feel overwhelmed by their feelings and express anger in a way that places themselves and others at risk. This course provides skills for helpers to assist children in identifying and managing their feelings in a healthy manner. Specific skills taught include helping children identify and label their feelings, cope with feelings of anger, develop a “Safety Plan,” and learn how and when to use the plan. The skills taught in this course are helpful for persons working with children in a wide variety of settings including family foster care, and residential and educational facilities.

ViewClick here

Child Sexual Abuse: What Investigators Need to Know

WI CAN Educational Series presents a one-hour video with Dr. Rita Ventura from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin about what investigators on child sexual abuse cases need to know.

ViewClick here

Connecting the Dots to Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children Through Collaboration

This webinar explored how the collaboration of child welfare organizations can strengthen and fortify efforts to prevent child sexual abuse. Representatives from two such organizations discussed their methods and successes in research, promoting community awareness and involvement, training and education, juvenile justice, funding strategies, and more.

ViewClick here

The Effects of Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure

In 2017, it was estimated that there were over 5,000 drug-exposed infants born in California. In this webinar, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s Dr. Lynne Smith discusses the effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure including: effects on somatic growth and neuro-development and prenatal and postnatal environmental factors that influence the effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure.

ViewClick here

“Faces of Human Trafficking” Video Series

The series is intended to be used for outreach and education efforts of service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and others in the community. The series includes information about sex and labor trafficking, multidisciplinary approaches to serving victims of human trafficking, effective victim services, victims’ legal needs, and voices of survivors.

ViewClick here

The Family First Act: What Juvenile Justice Advocates Need to Know

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently partnered with Casey Family Programs to host Implications of the Family First Act for Juvenile Justice Advocates, a webinar highlighting the services and resources that the landmark law provides to support youth involved with the justice system.

Time: 1 hour
ViewClick here

Infants with Parental Substance Exposure

This webinar provides an overview the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital initiative to improve the quality of care of infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Dr. Matthew Grossman highlights research findings, including the methods and results of the hospital study published in Pediatrics. The interventions include non-pharmacologic therapies and a simplified approach to assessment for infants exposed to methadone in utero.

ViewClick here

International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)

Child Abuse and Children with Disabilities: Prevention & Protective Factors (1 hour)
Children’s Rights and Child Protection (1 hour)
Education and Learning in the Context of Abuse, Neglect, and Related Stressors (1 hour)
Neurobiology of Stress and Trauma in Children and Adolescents (1 hour)
Parental Burnout (1 hour)

Mandated Reporting with an Immigrant Family Struggling with Acculturation and Developmental Trauma

Members of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network have developed recommendations to make these diagnostic criteria more developmentally informed and helpful for providers who serve children and adolescents. This webinar will review the draft criteria, proposed developmental recommendations, and implications, risks, and opportunities that a new grief disorder can bring.

Time: 1.5 hours
Click here

National American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)

Adoption Assistance and Eligibility Benefits (1.25 hours)
Improving Messages in Kinship Care, Foster Care, and Adoption (1 hour)
Parenting Tough Behaviors (1.25 hours)
Positive Identify Formation and Community Connectedness for Children and Youth in Transracial Placements (1.5 hours)

National CASA/GAL Program

Psychotropic Drugs 101 (2.5 hours)
All Children All Families: Improving Practice with LGBT Youth and Families (1 hour)
Building Strong Families and Healthy Communities: The Safe Babies Project (1.25 hours)

National Children’s Advocacy Center Online Training

Previously recorded webinars that offer information pertaining to multiple aspects of CASA cases can be found on the National Children’s Advocacy Center website and can be viewed at any time with no cost. On their website, you will be directed to create a login account to access the webinars. Click here to view available webinars.

New Data on Vaping and Teen Drug Use

Gen Z shows an overall decline in teen drug use, including non-medical use of prescription opioids, according to the 2019 data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But that same data shows that vaping of both nicotine and marijuana is on the rise. Listen in as Dr. Emily Einstein, a Health Science Policy Analyst and Brian Marquis, a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) public liaison dive into the latest data from NIDA’s Monitoring the Future Survey.

ViewClick here

On the Global Coronavirus Crisis: Steering Ourselves and Our Clients Through New & Developing Traumas

Join Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of the New York Times #1 bestselling author The Body Keeps The Score and learn timely (and critically important) approaches for all of us in the helping professions. Dr. van der Kolk will give you specific and practical approaches, with your community, and with your clients to address creating connection and community in this global crisis as well as activities to share with clients that keep them attached and out of re-experiencing past traumas.

Time: 30 minutes
ViewClick here

Overcoming Uncertainty: A Conversation with ISF Former Foster Youth

For students who have recently exited the foster care system and aspire to continue their education, life can feel uncertain. How do I afford a meal plan? What if I lose my job and can’t afford to pay rent? Where will I sleep if I can’t be in my dorm room? You can meet the students who experience and overcome uncertainty. ISF Executive Director, Blair Ritchey, and a panel of our foster care students discussed how they are overcoming COVID-related challenges.

Time: 45 minutes
ViewClick here

The Power of Connection: How Resource Families Can Support Adolescents Through COVID-19 Crisis

This webinar is a conversation between national adolescent development expert Dr. Ken Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, Co-Director of the Center for Parent and Teen Communication at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Jennifer Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Youth Law Center. Dr. Ginsburg will be sharing the science behind why resource and foster families are so important to adolescents during this national crisis, and practical tips and guidance for the best ways resource families (and all families) can support youth in foster care right now to weather this challenge and thrive.

Time: 75 minutes
ViewClick here

Promoting Family Health Through the Parent-Child Feeding Relationship

Unhealthy foods are readily available, cheaper than healthy alternatives, and advertised directly to children. Parents play an instrumental role in helping children navigate this unhealthy food environment. This presentation will discuss characteristics of children and parents that put some families at risk for eating challenges and how developing a positive parent-child feeding relationship benefits both parent and child.

ViewClick here
Where it can be foundUT Dallas Center for Children and Families

Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse: A webinar with NCTSN

An hour and a half-long video on reducing the risk of child sexual abuse presented by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

ViewClick here

Secondary Traumatic Stress/Compassion Fatigue: This is Hard AND We are Making A Difference

Secondary Traumatic Stress/Compassion Fatigue [STS/CF] is the emotional, physical, and personal response to frequent exposure to and empathic engagement with individuals and families struggling with significant challenges in their lives. It is often referred to as the “emotional cost of caring.” This webinar, hosted by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare Information, explores STS/CF and other human services workplace stressors and how we can ultimately experience “compassion satisfaction,” which is the key to thriving in the midst of this difficult work that we do. Real-time, on-the-job strategies are examined, including self-awareness, self-regulation, emotional reflection, and the elicitation and amplification of good work.

Time: 1 hour
ViewClick here

Storytelling, Social Movements, and the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Topics covered are: how revised and reconsidered communications can promote the message of prevention of child abuse and neglect, why the general public has not been as engaged by previous prevention messages, and how professionals in child abuse prevention are changing the way they tell their stories to inspire and motivate the public to take action.

ViewClick here

TBRI® An Overview: Putting the Pieces Together

This short video explains the principles and concepts behind Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, a proven method for enriching the lives of at-risk, vulnerable children, adolescents, and their families. Trauma can impair language, sensory processing, and coping skills, and can lead to perplexing behaviors that are often mistaken for aggression or mental illness. This video features world-renowned experts who share research that documents how consistently positive experiences with loving caregivers can re-wire a child’s brain for lasting change.

ViewClick here

TED Talk: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

What really causes addiction? How can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail first hand and began to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do.

ViewClick here

TED Talk: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave

TED talk featuring Leslie Morgan Steiner telling the story of her abusive relationship, correcting misconceptions may people hold about victims of domestic violence and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

ViewClick here

Teen Dating Violence: Cyber Abuse, Social Media, and the Courts

Webinar hosted by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. With more teens than ever using social media to connect with their friends, it is important that courts stay abreast of the latest trends and techniques used to abuse. Moreover, with nearly half of middle school students reporting they were victims of electronic dating violence, this webinar provides a better understanding of teen culture and the role technology plays in teen dating violence.

Time: 1 hour
ViewClick here

Training Series: Coping With the Unique Challenges of Kinship Care

More than 139,000 children in foster care are living in kinship placements with thousands more are in informal kinship care arrangements. As child welfare systems increasingly prioritize placing children with relatives, the Casey Foundation has created a video training series — Coping With the Unique Challenges of Kinship Care — as a resource for kin caregivers and the child welfare workers who supporting them.

ViewClick here

Trauma- Informed Care for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders

The New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center (New England ATTC) has partnered with the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) to develop a web-based series on effective strategies, practices and policies addressing families with substance use.

ViewClick here

Using Media Effectively with Young Children and Virtual Visitation

While in-person visitation is the best way to support families, it isn’t always possible during this emergency. Dr. Rachel Barr will share research on how to use remote and virtual communication to maintain and strengthen relationships. Dr. Barr is a professor at Georgetown University and has conducted research on media and young children for over 25 years.

Time: 1 hour
ViewClick here

Using Mindfulness with Children of All Abilities to Keep Connections Strong

Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak explores how adults (parents, teachers, therapists) can embed mindfulness into their daily routines and activities to meet the needs of children, including those who are on IEPs and/or who may struggle with self-regulation skills (e.g., attention, interaction, recall). She also discusses how mindfulness supports brain development and how to take what we’ve learned and share with families and other caregivers, particularly during times when group care and educational opportunities are closed for public health and safety.

ViewClick here

Webinar Series: Trauma-Focused Interventions for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Although research on trauma-focused interventions continues to grow, there are still only a limited number of interventions designed specifically for responding to the traumatic effects of domestic and sexual violence. This webinar series was designed to highlight some of these emerging and evidence-based approaches.

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Survivors of Trauma: An Introduction
  • Beyond Trauma: A Healing Journey for Women
  • Beyond Anger and Violence: A Program for Women

ViewClick here


Recommended Films

6 Balloons 

A loyal sister struggles to stay afloat while driving her heroin-addicted brother to a detox center and looking after his 2-year old daughter.

Time: 75 minutes
Where it can be found: Netflix

All Rise: For the Good of the Children

An in depth look into a trauma-informed courtroom in East Texas who are working to heal families in the child welfare system

Time: 75 minutes
Where it can be foundAll Rise

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal

A documentary about the sexual abuse within the USA gymnastics team.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where it can be found: HBO, Hulu


A documentary about trans-racial adoption and the search for birth family and identity.

Time: 75 minutes
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime or rent here

Florida Project

A drama following a mother and daughter who are living in a budget motel in Orlando outside of Disney World.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube

Foster: HBO Special

A documentary about the foster care system, specifically in Los Angeles County.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found
: HBO Go, HBO Now

Gimme Shelter

Based on a true story about a pregnant teenager who flees her abusive mother in search of her father, only to be rejected. She is forced to survive on the streets until a compassionate stranger offers a hopeful alternative. A powerful movie demonstrating the impact one person can make on a child or teen.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, Hulu,  iTunes

Gracie’s Choice

When her drug-addicted, abusive mother is sent to jail, a teenage girl fights to be legally emancipated and raise her younger siblings.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, tubiTV

Healing Neen

A documentary featuring one mother’s journey through addiction, incarceration and homelessness. This program highlights the critical role of trauma-informed care in the child welfare system.

Time: 1 hour
Where it can be foundVimeo

Instant Family

An engaging comedy/drama about foster care and sibling adoption.

Time: 2 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, Hulu, Instant Family

Know How

A musical written and acted in by former foster youth, chronicling their journeys through the foster care system in New York City.

Time: 1.75 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Netflix

Like Dandelion Dust

A compelling drama exploring the different meanings of being a parent through the gritty, realistic lives of two families that intersect over the love of a little boy.

Time: 1.75 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube


The story of an abused teen in New York, who is pregnant with her second child and is offered an opportunity to enroll in an alternative school. She then begins her journey towards hope.

Time: 1.75 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, Hulu, iTunes, YouTube

Short Term 12

The story about the lives of teens in a foster care facility for at risk youth (RTC) as told through the eyes of their young supervisor, Grace.

Time: 1.5 hours
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube


Recommended TV and Special Programs

The Beginning of Life

Using breakthroughs in technology and neuroscience, this series examines how environment affects infants – and how infants affect our future.

Time: Six episodes, each program 45 minutes
Where it can be foundNetflix

Broken Places

Broken Places explores why some children are severely damaged by early adversity while others are able to thrive. By revisiting childhood trauma victims we profiled decades ago, we learned how their experiences shaped their lives as adults. Watch here.

Time: 1 hour
Where is can be foundPBS

Finding Home: A Foster Youth Story

The story of four teens in foster care preparing for life outside of the foster care system.

Time: 1 hour
Where it can be foundPBS

The Fosters

A fictional series about two women and their biological, foster and adopted children.

Time: 5 seasons, each program 1 hour
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Netflix

A Path Appears

PBS investigation into gender inequality, poverty and the ripple effects that follow: including sex trafficking, teen-pregnancy, gender-based violence, child slavery and the effective solutions being forged to combat them.

Time: 1 season, each program 1 to 1.5 hours
Where it can be foundPBS

PBS Frontline Specials:

Chasing Heroin
Discusses the public health crisis of the opioid epidemic and highlights individual case studiesSex Trafficking in America

Growing Up Trans
Explores the struggles and choices facing transgendered youth and their families

Kind Hearted Women – Video 1Video 2
Follows a single mother on Spirit Lake Reservation as she struggles to heal from sexual abuse, raise her children and further her education

Left Behind in America
Explores struggles in Dayton Ohio with 35% of the population living in poverty.

Sex Trafficking in America
Follows a police unit committed to rooting out sexual exploitation.

Right to Fail
Investigates the consequences of adults with severe mental illness lacking needed supports.

Time: Each program is 1 to 2 hours
Where it can be foundPBS Frontline

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez

A 6-part documentary following a true story of the torture and murder of an 8-year-old child. Series shows graphic images of abuse and discussed highly disturbing content.

Time: 6 hours
Where it can be found: Netflix


Mini-series based on a true story of a teenager’s report of sexual assault and the system’s response and investigation of her disclosure.

Time: 6.5 hours
Where it can be found: Netflix


Recommended Reading

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Alexander states, by the US targeting black men through the War of Drugs, the criminal justice system now functions as a contemporary system of racial control.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

“He doesn’t mean to hurt me-he just loses control.” “He can be sweet and gentle.” “He’s scared me a few times, but he never hurts the children – he’s a great father.” “He’s had a really hard life…” Women in abusive relationships tell themselves these things every day. Now they can see inside the minds of angry and controlling men-and change their own lives. In this groundbreaking book, a counselor shows how to improve, survive, or leave an abusive relationship, with: The early warning signs, nine abusive personality types, how to tell if an abuser can change, is changing, or ever will, the role of drugs and alcohol, what can be fixed, and what can’t, how to leave a relationship safely.

Juvenile Delinquency in a Diverse Society by Kristin A. Bates and Richelle S. Swan

This engaging, student-friendly text takes a critical look at juvenile delinquency today. Authors Kristin Bates and Richelle Swan examine the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency in the context of real communities and social policies, integrating into the text the many social factors that shape juvenile delinquency and its control (including race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality). Offering a thorough mix of traditional and cutting-edge theories, research, and practices, this text helps students develop critical thinking skills and answer many of the difficult questions on juvenile delinquency that they will face in their careers and lives.

To The End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam

Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is To the End of June, an unforgettable portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children in their search for a stable, loving family.

Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison by Nell Bernstein

One in three American children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three, and many will spend time locked inside horrific detention centers that defy everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a clear- eyed indictment of the juvenile justice system run amok, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child. The very act of isolation denies delinquent children the thing that is most essential to their growth and rehabilitation: positive relationships with caring adults.

Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

Bridge’s memoir of surviving his childhood in a broken child-care system where the state acts as parents for the young certainly illustrates the complexity of such government institutions. After being removed from his mother by the state, Bridge spent a brief stint in a residential program before being put into foster care. His decade-long stay with an emotionally abusive and unsupportive family left its share of marks.

Growing Up in the Care of Strangers by Waln Brown and John Seita

Products of foster care themselves, 11 college-educated adults share their insights about their experiences and provide recommendations for professionals about what would improve foster care.

The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris

Provides insight and research into the prevalence of childhood trauma and the impact of Adverse Childhood Experienced Study (ACES)

Before and After: Incredible Real Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate

True stories of an adoption scandal from 1920 to 1950 in Georgia and the victims’ journeys to reconnect with biological family.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.

Relatives Raising Children: An Overview of Kinship Care by Joseph Crumbley

The rapid growth of kinship care has caught many child welfare agencies off guard. Relatives Raising Children gives professionals, agencies, institutions, communities and organizations the information they need to develop and provide service to kinship caregivers, kinship families, children and parents.

Child Abuse. What You Need to Know by Evin Daly

A definitive guide to understanding every facet of child abuse-physical, emotional and sexual; and neglect. Providing an in depth look at each, including the connection between child abuse and domestic violence.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond

In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for While People to talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Anti-racist educator illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and discusses what we can do to engage more constructively.

Doing the Best I can: Fatherhood in the Inner City by Kathryn Edin

Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the leading social problems of today. Doing the Best I Can is a strikingly rich, paradigm-shifting look at fatherhood among inner-city men often dismissed as “deadbeat dads.” Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine how couples in challenging straits come together and get pregnant so quickly—without planning. The authors chronicle the high hopes for forging lasting family bonds that pregnancy inspires, and pinpoint the fatal flaws that often lead to the relationship’s demise. They offer keen insight into a radical redefinition of family life where the father-child bond is central and parental ties are peripheral.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Author and social critic goes undercover as an unskilled worker to reveal the challenges of poverty in America.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy.

A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera Fahlberg

Fahlberg has provided the comprehensive guide for all who care about advocating children with all kinds of behavior and disorder issues.

Finding Fish by Antwone Fisher

Baby Boy Fisher was raised in institutions from the moment of his birth in prison to a single mother. He ultimately came to live with a foster family, where he endured near-constant verbal and physical abuse. In his mid-teens he escaped and enlisted in the navy, where he became a man of the world, raised by the family he created for himself.

A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes

A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential “broken windows” theory to the “squeegee men” of late -1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level.

Trauma and Recovery: The After Math of Violence by Judith L. Herman

When Trauma and Recovery was first published in 1992, it was hailed as a groundbreaking work. In the intervening years, it has become the basic text for understanding trauma survivors. Drawing on her own research on incest, as well as on a vast literature on combat veterans and victims of political terror, she shows surprising parallels between private horrors like child abuse and public horrors like war. Trauma and Recovery is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand how we heal and are healed.

Those Who Wander: America’s Lost Street Kids by Vivian Ho

Explores the challenging pasts of young people who commit a senseless murder, addressing the homelessness and runaway crisis of abused and neglected youth.

Last Chance in Texas: The Redemption of Criminal Youth by John Hubner

A powerful, bracing and deeply spiritual look at intensely, troubled youth, Last Chance in Texas gives a stirring account of the way one remarkable prison rehabilitates its inmates. While reporting on the juvenile court system, journalist John Hubner kept hearing about a facility in Texas that ran the most aggressive, and one of the most successful, treatment programs for violent young offenders in America.

No Matter How Loud I Shout by Edward Humes

In an age when violence and crime by young people is again on the rise, No Matter How Loud I Shout offers a rare look inside the juvenile court system that deals with these children and the impact decisions made in the courts had on the rest of their lives. Granted unprecedented access to the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, including the judges, the probation officers and the children themselves, Edward Humes creates an unforgettable portrait of a chaotic system that is neither saving our children in danger nor protecting us from adolescent violence. Yet he shows us there is also hope in the handful of courageous individuals working tirelessly to triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.

Ghosts from the Nursery by Robin Karr-Morse

This book incorporates significant advances in neurobiological research over the past decade. The author’s groundbreaking conclusions became even more relevant following the wave of school shootings across the nation. Following each media coverage and public debate turned yet again to the usual suspects concerning the causes of violence: widespread availability of guns and lack of mental health services for late-stage treatment. Discussion of the impact of trauma on human life, especially early in life during chemical and structural formation of the brain, is missing from the equation.

Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope, by Tina Kelley

This book tells the stories of six remarkable young people from across the United States and Canada as they confront life alone on the streets. Each eventually finds his or her way to Covenant House, the largest charity serving homeless and runaway youth in North America.

The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz

The Out-of-Sync Child broke new ground by identifying Sensory Processing Disorder, a common but frequently misdiagnosed problem in which the central nervous system misinterprets messages from the senses. This newly revised edition features additional information from recent research on vision and hearing deficits, motor skill problems, nutrition and picky eaters, ADHA, autism, and other related disorders.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

Memoir about a mother’s struggle to provide for her family as a member of the working poor.

The Limits of Hope: An Adoptive Mother’s Story by Ann Kimble Loux

Loux tells the story of her family’s decision to adopt two sisters removed from their alcoholic biological mother. This personal account tells of Loux’s attempt to raise these girls along with her three biological children. In the conclusion, Loux suggests alternatives to traditional adoption for the care of troubled older children

The Color of Water by James McBride

Interspersed throughout his mother’s compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self-realization and professional success.

We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride

This is a story about families, the ones we have and the ones we make. It’s a story about America today, where so many cultures and points of view collide and coexist. We Are Called to Rise challenges us to think about our responsibilities to each other and reminds us that no matter how cruel life can be in a given moment, it is ultimately beautiful to live, and live fully.

Brave: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma by Jayne McConnaughey

A personal memoir describing a woman’s journey through psychotherapy which pays tribute to how a therapist and client worked together to heal attachment wounds.

Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses by Paula McLain

Paula McLain has written a powerful and haunting memoir about the years she and her two sisters spent as foster children. In the early 70s, after being abandoned by both parents, the girls were made wards of the Fresno County, California court and spent the next 14 years in a series of adoptive homes. The dislocations, confusions and odd pleasures of an unrooted life form the basis of a captivating memoir. McLain’s beautiful writing and limber voice capture the intense loneliness, sadness, and determination of a young girl both on her own and responsible, with her siblings, for staying together as a family.

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart- wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world. “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Honest conversations about race and racism and their impact on American life

Bridges Out of Poverty by Ruby Payne

Bridges Out of Poverty takes the concepts of hidden rules of economic class and uses them to educate social workers, employers and community organizations about the unique and sometimes hidden obstacles that individuals from poverty face. Strategies help improve services for clients, raise retention rates for new hires from poverty, and increase understanding of the differences in economic cultures and how those differences affect opportunities for success.

A Chance in the World by Steve Pemberton

From the day he is five-years-old and dropped off at his foster home of the next eleven years, Stephen is mentally and physically tortured. No one in the system can help him. No one can tell him if he has a family. Along the way, a single faint light comes only from a neighbor’s small acts of kindness and caring, and a box of books. From one of those books he learns that he has to fight in any way he can, for victory is in the battle. His victory is to excel in school. Against all odds, the author succeeded.

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry

Traumatized children can teach us about loss, love and healing. A psychiatrist carefully examines and explains attachment disorders including RAD (reactive attachment disorder).

The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis

The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion. Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you: build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child, effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders, discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened. “A must- read not only for adoptive parents, but for all families striving to correct and connect with their children.”

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

This book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in 21st century daily life and in the media. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform and stay alive. Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named“post- race” society.

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

The author’s ability to form intelligent, open-minded conclusions about her traumatic childhood demonstrates her remarkable control and insight. Although there are plenty of wrenching moments, she succeeds not in attracting pity but in her stated intention, of drawing attention to the children who currently share the plight that she herself overcame.

Three More Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent a harrowing nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes. Her memoir, Three Little Words, captivated audiences everywhere and went on to become a New York Times bestseller. Now Ashley reveals the nuances of life after foster care: College and its assorted hijinks, including meeting “the one.” Marriage, which began with a beautiful wedding on a boat that was almost hijacked (literally) by some biological family members. Having kids, from fostering children and the heartbreak of watching them return to destructive environments, to the miraculous joy of blending biological and adopted offspring.

A Private Family Matter by Victor Rivas Rivers

In A Private Family Matter, Victor recalls his days as an angry youth living under the rule and wrath of his father. A Cuban immigrant, Victor’s dad was nicknamed El Ciclón for his tempestuous temperament, which led him not only to beat his wife but to abuse, and eventually kidnap, his own children. How Victor managed to seek help for his family and criminal punishment for his father, overcome his demons and learn to love himself, and share his experience with other victims and survivors of domestic abuse is at the heart of this profound and affecting memoir.

The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult by Josh Shipp

Written by a former foster youth, Shipp shows us how to be a caring adult in a teenager’s life to help them face adversity and develop resilience.

The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson

Provides insight into how a child’s brain develops and functions and how adults can help children handle and respond to different experiences and challenges.

Foster Placements: Why They Succeed and Why They Fail by Ian Sinclair

Based on exhaustive research, the authors discuss the primary concerns in foster placement planning, considering the high frequency of placement breakdowns, their impact on the child’s behavior and school performance and the challenges this places on foster families.

The Butterfly Garden by Chip St. Clair

Fear rocked Chip St. Clair’s world. As a boy, he never knew what would set his father off–maybe the ice cubes had melted in his glass of Tab, maybe dinner was overcooked or undercooked or the gravy was too runny. Regardless, the beatings always came. But one fateful night when the police answered the call, the truth came to light from the shadows, sparking national headlines: Chip St. Clair’s entire life–his name, even his date of birth–had been a lie, and the man he called ‘Dad’ was an impostor, an escaped child killer who had been on the run for over two decades. The stunning revelation would send one of America’s Most Wanted to justice and another on a quest for his true identity.

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

Trauma Stewardship by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky

A longtime trauma worker, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky offers a deep and empathetic survey of the often unrecognized toll taken on those working to make the world a better place. We may feel tired, cynical, or numb or like we can never do enough. These and other symptoms, affect us individually and collectively, sapping the energy and effectiveness we so desperately need if we are to benefit humankind, other living things and the planet itself. In Trauma Stewardship, we are called to meet these challenges in an intentional way, to keep from becoming overwhelmed by developing a quality of mindful presence. Joining the wisdom of ancient cultural traditions with modern psychological research, Lipsky offers a variety of simple and profound practices that will allow us to remake ourselves–and ultimately the world.

Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos

Nia Vardalos, writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, tells her hilarious and poignant road-to-parenting story that eventually leads to her daughter and prompts her to become a major advocate for adoption. Vardalos chronicles her attempts to have a baby, and how she tries everything—from drinking jugs of green mud tea, to acupuncture, to working with two surrogates. Finally, she and her husband, actor Ian Gomez, decide to try adoption and discover a free service: Foster Family Agencies. Then one day, the social workers “match” her with an almost- three-year-old girl, who she knows, instantly, is her daughter. With her signature wit and candor, Nia Vardalos reveals what really came next – the truth of how she and her husband transitioned a preschooler into their home. Vardalos opens up about the bawling-tears and belly-laughter that all make up what it means to be…a parent.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

In her childhood memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls offers a blow-by-blow description of growing up with parents whose capacity for loving their children is greater than their ability to care for them.

A Question of Balance: Decision Making for CASA’s by Janet Ward

Easy to read narrative and sample interview questions that pull together the “how” and “why” of the 30+ hour National CASA/GAL pre-service training for volunteers.

Alphabet Kids by Robbie Woliver

A guide for people working with children who exhibit symptoms of a possible disorder that may impede their physical, psychological, intellectual, or emotional development.

Weeping in the Playtime of Others: America’s Incarcerated Children by Kenneth Wooden

From the summer of 1972 through 1975, Kenneth Wooden visited correctional facilities in thirty states where juveniles between the ages of five and sixteen were being held. During his research he uncovered an astoundingly high incidence of emotional and physical abuse, torture, and commercial exploitation of the children by their keepers, individuals who received public funds to care for them. After observing the brutal treatment of these youths, a significant number of whom were not criminals but runaways or mentally disabled, Wooden described the conditions in which these children lived in Weeping in the Playtime of Others.