Take the first step to becoming a CASA advocate:


Attention Court Appointed Special Advocates:  Be sure to enter any continuing education in your personal volunteer file in Optima.  Contact your case supervisor if you need instructions or assistance.  Twelve hours of continuing education annually is easy.  Just remember to enter it in Optima, and your case supervisor will approve it.

What is normalcy? A new guidebook and video help define normalcy for children in foster care and ways we can all help support the children in our care.

In short, normalcy is about giving kids the chance to be kids! It means helping children and youth live as full of a life as possible, with experiences typical for their age and development—everything from having the opportunity to participate in sleepovers, summer camp, and extracurricular activities, to having access to a cell phone, taking driver’s education or receiving an allowance.

All of these sound like typical childhood experiences, right? Unfortunately, for young people in foster care, it’s not that simple. These kids tend to live with more restrictions and challenges than their peers, which means they often miss out on these types of activities and milestones that many of us take for granted.
By making normalcy a true priority, encouraging open communication and collaboration, and ensuring children’s voices are heard, everyone involved in the child welfare system can help ensure a better experience for children in foster care – setting them up for success, helping them live fuller lives and giving them a better chance at a bright future.

Independent Study Options

CE 1.5 Recordings (click on links):
  • Understanding Trauma Bonds Between Traffickers and Their Victims (recorded 2020.05.13): Trauma bonding is a counterintuitive phenomenon in which a victim bonds and develops strong positive feelings toward his or her abuser. These bonds are common among sex trafficking victims and affect their ability to identify their own victimization, cooperate with law enforcement investigations, and refrain from going back into the life once they have left. This webinar will examine the formation of these bonds between traffickers and their victims through case examples, videos, and discussion. Strategies for breaking these bonds and helping victims psychologically separate from their abusers will also be discussed.
CE 3.0 Recordings (click on links):
additional Independent Study Options

Of the Continuing Education 1.5 and 3.0 Classes we’ve offered, the following were recorded.
If CE 1.5 is watched and reported via email to info@casaforkidsofet.org, 1 CE hour can be awarded.
If CE 3.0 is watched and reported via email to info@casaforkidsofet.org, 3 CE hours can be awarded.

Netflix: Girls Incarcerated: Young and Locked Up – There are two seasons (8 episodes each) and each episode is approximately 45 minutes (.75 CE credits each!).
Follows a group of teens in the juvenile system.  *Rated MA. (Language and other mature content)

Netflix: The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez – 6 episodes. These vary between 45 minutes (.75 CE credit) to an hour (1 CE credit) in length. Follows the death of a young boy and the criminal proceedings for both the parents and the CPS workers who failed to protect him.  *Rated MA. (Language and other mature content)

Disney+: Safety – 2 hours (2 CE credits). It’s inspired by a true story of a Clemson football player who has to raise his 11year old brother to keep him out of foster care while their mom completes rehab.  *Rated PG

Hallmark Now: Christmas Princess – 1 hour, 26 minutes (1.5 CE Credits). Inspired by true events about a high school girl who overcomes her difficult past (neglect/abuse of her and her siblings prior to adoption) to become one of the elite Rose Parade Princesses.  *Rated G

Losing Isaiah – 1 hour, 46 minutes (2 CE Credits) *Rated R

Netflix: You Are My Home 1 hour, 32 minutes (1.5 CE Credits)
Separated from her family due to immigration laws, a young girl finds herself in the care of a heartbroken woman who faces her own struggles.  *Rated PG

Prime Video: The Fosters – There are five seasons (20-22 episodes each) and each episode is approximately 45 minutes (.75 CE credits each!).
Follows the lives of the members of the Foster family led by lesbian couple Stef and Lena, a cop and school vice-principal respectively, who raise one biological and four adopted children
in San Diego, California.  *Rated TV-14.

PBS Frontline: Growing Up Poor In America (click on title to link to video) 1 hour (1 CE credit) Their families were already struggling to make ends meet. Then came COVID.

Aged Out: Finding Home (1 CE credit) Take a peek into the lives of youth who were in The Possibilities Project, a privately funded program for 18-25 year olds who have “aged out” of the traditional foster care system in Virginia. Learn about the collaborative efforts of advocacy groups and families as they try to change the system to improve the lives of youth aging out of foster care and possibly onto the streets. (Focuses on a project in Virginia but discusses challenges common in all locales.)

I am Somebody’s Child; The Regina Louise Story – 1 hour, 27 min (1.5 CE Credits) *Rated TV-14
Regina navigates through over 30 foster homes and psychiatric facilities before age 18. But there’s one woman who believes in her. Based on a true story.

Foster 1 hour, 53 minutes (2 CE Credits) *Rated TV-14  This documentary looks at the moving stories behind the largest county child protection agency in the U.S. Filmmakers spent four years following judges, social workers, families, a foster mother and some of the youth caught up in this system.

Books (maximum of 4 hours of your 12 CE hours may be books, CE credit varies for a reasonable time to read):

White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism by Robin Diangelo

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Windgate

Spilled Milk: Based on a True Story by K.L. Randis – Brooke Nolan is a battered child who makes an anonymous phone call to social services about the escalating brutality in her home. In her pursuit for safety and justice Brooke battles a broken system that pushes to keep her father in the home, and she risks losing the support of family, coming to the realization that some people simply do not want to be saved. Spilled Milk is a novel of shocking narrative, triumph, and resiliency.  (CE credit varies for a reasonable time to read + any book discussion (i.e. book club))

Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal – by Donna Jackson Nakazawa
Shows the link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and adult illnesses such as heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer—Childhood Disrupted also explains how to cope and
heal from these emotional traumas.  (CE credit varies for a reasonable time to read + any book discussion (i.e. book club))

Losing Isaiah by Seth Margolis  A social worker adopts an abandoned baby, but years later the formerly drug-addicted birth mother returns and goes to court to regain custody of her son.

To the End of June – by Cris Beam  Beam shows us the intricacies of growing up in the system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the rootless shuffling between homes, the emotionally charged tug between foster and birth parents, the terrifying push out of foster care and into adulthood. Humanizing and challenging a broken system, To the End of June offers a tribute to resiliency and hope for real change. (CE credit varies for reasonable time to read + any book discussion (i.e. book club))

The Power of Moments – by Chip Heath and Dan Heath  This book delves into some fascinating mysteries of experience: Why we tend to remember the best or worst moment of an experience, as well as the last moment, and forget the rest. Why “we feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.” And why our most cherished memories are clustered into a brief period during our youth.

Online Education:

Texas Health Steps: www.txhealthsteps.com
Change the format to “course” and you’ll see a variety of course options ranging from 1 to 2 hours.
Texas Health Steps’ award-winning online program offers FREE CE courses. Topics that would be appropriate for CASA CE credits would include those such as Childhood and Adolescent Depression, Childhood Anxiety Disorders, High-Risk Behaviors in Young People, Interpersonal Youth Violence, Recognizing, Reporting, and Preventing Child Abuse, Promoting Adolescent Health, Trauma-Informed Care for Children in Foster Care, and
Youth Suicide: Addressing Risks, Plans and Behaviors.

Texas CASA: Addressing Issues of Grief and Loss (click on title to link) 1 hour (1 CE Credit)
Webinar presented by Adam Robe, CEO, Foster Care Alumni of America and Speaker/Trainer/Author at Robe Communications, Inc. How can you help a foster child cope with the inevitable grief and loss they experience just by coming into care? This presentation offers specific and practical strategies and insights to strengthen your advocacy for children experiencing grief and loss.

Texas CASA: Behavioral Health Services for Foster Children under Medicaid (click on title to link)  1 hour (1 CE Credit)
Webinar presented by Richard LaVallo, Legal Director at Disability Rights Texas. In this webinar, LaVallo covered:

  • Behavioral health services under Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment
  • Behavioral health services under the mental health rehabilitative services provisions
  • Due process protections afforded to foster children to ensure the provision of medically necessary behavioral health services
  • How to advocate for behavioral health services on behalf of foster children.YouTube: Growth Mindset: Encouraging Kids through Tough Times (click on title to link)

30 minutes (.5 CE Credit)
Cathy Thompson, founder of Beyond the Classroom, speaks with her guests about growth mindset and easy ways families and educators can incorporate this into everyday conversations.

YouTube: Advocating for Children with Sensory Processing Differences (click on title to link) – 2 hours (2 CE Credits)
CASA of Lexington invited Rebecca Duvall Scott, author of Sensational Kids Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences, to speak about advocating for children with sensory processing differences.

Here are some great resources through Partners Resource Network on childhood development and disability.

Early Intervention for Babies & Toddlers (Ages 0-3)
Overview of Early Intervention
in conjunction with Key Terms to Know in Early Intervention,
Developmental Milestones , and
Texas Health and Human – Early Childhood Intervention Services

Click on the links for this helpful information regarding Early Childhood Intervention Services, which is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities.
CE Credit for studying the information in these links = 2 hours

Special Education for Children & Young Adults (3 to 26 years)
10 Basic Steps in Special Education
in conjunction with Key Terms to Know in Special Education,
Questions Often Asked about Special Education,
Evaluating Children for Disability and All about the IEP.

Click on the links for this helpful information regarding Special Education for Children and
how specific needs can be identified and addressed.
CE Credit for studying the information in these links = 2 hours

We get a lot of questions about what to look for in the development of our youngest CASA children and I found these videos that I thought might help identify the growth and development milestones we often look for.

Infant Developmental Milestones Mnemonic Pediatric Nursing NCLEX Review

When Should My Baby… Milestones 0-12 months

Toddler Developmental Milestones Mnemonics | Pediatric Nursing NCLEX Review

Preschooler Growth & Developmental Milestones Pediatric Nursing NCLEX Review

CE Credit for watching all of these three development videos = 2 hours
CE Credit for watching one of these videos = .5 minutes

Book and Video Interview
Book: The Gardner and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik (CE Credit = up to 4 hours)
Video Interview: Siren Films – Child Development (CE Credit = .5 minutes)
What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us about the Relationship Between Parents and Children.

Documentary on YouTube:
Brain Matters Documentary – Early Childhood Development
Click link for documentary. Discover why it is that some children thrive while others do not?
Is it a matter of genetics, IQ, socioeconomic background or education?
CE Credit = 1 hour

Let’s talk about PODCASTS!

We LOVE PODCASTS! And this is an easy way to earn Continuing Education credit while you’re on the go. Our case supervisors are on the go a lot so we polled them for their ideas, sprinkled in some of our own and ended up with a compilation list of 15 podcasts – plenty to choose from!

Of course, not every episode in all of these podcasts is going to be about the children we serve or the social issues we work with, but A LOT of them do! If you have questions about whether an episode fits the bill, please feel free to contact info@casaforkidsofet.org for clarification.

Happy Listening!

CASA on the Go: Continuing Education for CASA Volunteers

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 15 to 35 minutes.
Podcast Intro: This continuing education podcast connects CASA volunteers with engaging and relevant training designed to help strengthen advocacy for children and families. Each short, dynamic episode features informative discussions with subject matter experts exploring topics connected to child welfare and practical tips for informed CASA advocacy.

National CASA Podcast

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 15 to 35 minutes.
Podcast Intro: Today, more than 1,000 CASA program offices operate in 49 states. Nearly 70,000 highly trained CASA volunteers (sometimes called guardians ad litem, or GAL volunteers) speak out for 240,000 abused and neglected children in court each year. In this series of interviews we provide updates from National CASA, alert you to legislative action, share experiences from program staff and volunteers in the network, and direct first-person accounts from the youth we serve. In addition, you will learn important staff and volunteer skills to help you advocate for abused and neglected kids.

The Forgotten Podcast

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 20 minutes to 1 ½ hours.
Podcast Intro: Whether you are a part of the foster care community, passionate about serving or
simply interested in learning more, we are here for you!


Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 25 to 45 minutes.
Podcast Intro: Welcome to the Annie E. Casey Foundation podcast. A monthly conversation focusing on how all of us can work together to build a brighter future for kids, families and communities. Hosted by Lisa Hamilton, the Foundation’s President & CEO.

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 35 to 50 minutes.
Podcast Intro: The Child Welfare Information Gateway Podcast shares the innovations, lessons, and perspectives from those working to improve child welfare system. Our mission is to help adoption, foster care, and child safety caseworkers by exploring new ideas and practices making a difference in the lives of children, youth and families. Child Welfare Information Gateway is a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

One in Ten National Children’s Alliance

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 35 to 50 minutes.
Podcast Intro: Engaging the brightest minds working to solve one of the world’s toughest challenges—child abuse. Join us for conversations with leading experts on science, law, medicine, morality, and messaging. This podcast is brought to you by National Children’s Alliance, the largest network of care centers in the U.S. serving child victims of abuse. Visit us online at nationalchildrensalliance.org.

Doin’ the Work

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 35 minutes to 1 ½ hours.
Podcast Intro: Podcast highlighting people working for social change. Interviews with social workers and those in related fields, educators, and activists about their work and personal stories of how they got into this work. Hosted by Shimon Cohen, LCSW.

Trauma-Informed Lens Podcast

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 25 minutes to an hour.
Podcast Intro: The trauma-informed paradigm is challenging traditional views and approach in a wide variety of areas in education, social work, psychology, and public health. Each week the Trauma-Informed Lens Podcasters Curt Mower, Jerry Yager, and Matthew Bennett explore aspects of the trauma-informed paradigm and how it challenges traditional views of service delivery and current events. Join the revolution!

Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 35 minutes to 1 ½ hours.
Podcast Intro: I’ve spent over 20 years studying the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: We are hardwired for connection, and connecting requires courage, vulnerability, and conversation. I want this to be a podcast that’s real, unpolished, honest, and reflects both the magic and the messiness of what it means to be human. Episodes will include conversations with the people who are teaching me, challenging me, confusing me, or maybe even ticking me off a little. I’ll also have direct conversations with you about what I’m learning from new research, and we’ll do some episodes dedicated to answering your questions. We don’t have to do life alone. We were never meant to.

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard

**Disclosure: Explicit Language**

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Podcast Intro: Hi, I’m Dax Shepard, and I love talking to people. I am endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human, and I find people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy. I invite you to join me as I explore other people’s stories. We will celebrate, above all, the challenges and setbacks that ultimately lead to growth and betterment. What qualifies me for such an endeavor? More than a decade of sobriety, a degree in Anthropology and four years of improv training. I will attempt to discover human “truths” without any laboratory work, clinical trials or data collection. I will be, in the great tradition of 16th-century scientists, an Armchair Expert.

Hidden Brain
Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 3 minutes to an hour.
Podcast Intro: Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.

Do No Harm

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 35 to 45 minutes.
Podcast Intro: Melissa Bright thinks she’s living every parent’s worst nightmare when her five-month-old baby tumbles from a lawn chair and hits his head on the driveway. But after she rushes him to the hospital, a new nightmare begins. The Brights are thrust into a medical and legal system so focused on protecting children from abuse, it has targeted innocent parents. With exclusive audio captured as the events unfolded, this harrowing six-episode series takes you inside the Brights’ fight to hold their family together, against a system that can sometimes do more harm than good. Hosted by NBC News National Investigative Reporter Mike Hixenbaugh, Do No Harm is a co-production of NBC News and Wondery.

Broken Harts

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 30 to 40 minutes.
Podcast Intro: Markis, Hannah, Devonte, Abigail, Jeremiah, and Sierra Hart—six beautiful black children, ranging in age from 12 to 19—were all adopted by Sarah and Jennifer Hart, both white. On Jen’s Facebook page, it looked as if they were the perfect blended family, even earning the nickname “Hart Tribe” from friends. Then, on March 26, 2018, the family’s GMC Yukon was found belly-up on the rocks below California’s Highway 1. The news of the murder-suicide shocked their friends and made national headlines, leaving many wondering what possibly led to the fatal crash. Could these lives have been saved? Broken Harts, a new podcast from Glamour and HowStuffWorks, investigates this question with more than 30 never-before-heard interviews. Cohosts and Glamour editors Justine Harman and Elisabeth Egan and reporter Lauren Smiley follow the family’s journey from South Dakota through Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington, and finally to that 100-foot cliff in California.

Sibling Revelry with Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours.
Podcast Intro: Sibling Revelry explores the sibling bond, family dynamics, the human mind, and so much more. Kate and Oliver dive deep into the things that interest them and talk to other siblings in a free-formed, wide open, relaxed conversation to not only have some laughs, but to maybe inspire some people along the way with universal tales of what it’s like to grow up with brothers and sisters.

How to Talk to Kids about Anything with Dr. Robyn Silverman

Click on the link or find this podcast in your mobile podcast apps. Episodes range from 35 minutes to an hour.
Podcast Intro: The How to Talk to Kids about Anything Parenting Podcast, hosted by Dr. Robyn Silverman (Child & Teen Development Specialist, parenting coach, author, speaker and mom of 2), provides hands-on tips, powerful scripts, inspiring stories and specific steps to make even the toughest conversations easier. Featuring revealing interviews with the top experts in their fields, How to Talk to Kids about Anything gives parents and educators the tools and take-aways they’ve been looking for but have yet to find. From bullying and the gift of failure to death, divorce, money, sex, anger, anxiety and more, listeners will discover what to do, what to say and how to say it in a non-judgmental, honest, accessible format.

Let’s talk about our new CASA for Kids of East Texas Library!

We are so excited about our new CASA for Kids of East Texas Library! Right now, we are working on cataloging our books and creating a better check-out/check-in system, but, in the meantime, if you’d like to come by and check out a book or video, we welcome you to see what treasures we have available.
Simply let us know that you’ve checked it out by writing down the date, your name and phone number, and the title of the book on the notepad provided.
Books are due back in 2 weeks from the check-out date.

Here are a few books in our library now that are approved for Continuing Education credit (4 hours annual CE credit maximum for reading):

Non Fiction – Child Development, Child/Pre-Teen

“What to Expect the First Year” and “What to Expect the Toddle Years”

With the trademark month-by-month format, these books help illustrate what to expect during the first year and toddler years – one step at a time.  These books are packed with practical tips, realistic advice,
and relatable, accessible information.

Non Fiction – Family Development

“Empowering Single Parents”

Discover the unique needs of single-parent-families and how to help them become more
confident parents and maintain healthy relationships with children.

Non Fiction – Family Development

“The Connected Child”

As much as the adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family, some adoptions present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into a family–and addressing their special needs–requires
care, consideration, and compassion.

Non-Fiction – Mental/Emotional Health

“Delivered from Distraction”

Drug therapies, our understanding of the role of diet and exercise, even the way we define the disorder–all are changing radically. And doctors are realizing that millions suffer from this condition, though the vast majority of them remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Non-Fiction – Substance Abuse/Alcohol

“Beautiful Boy”

A teenager’s addiction from the parent’s point of view, a real-time chronicle of the shocking
descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope.

Fiction – 18+

“Ghost Girl”

In class, “Jadie might as well have been a ghost”–no one spoke to her, nor did she engage anyone else. Her trauma appeared to have been the result of sexual abuse or satanic cult practices. A police case ensued; Jadie and her siblings were placed in foster care, but evidence to indict the parents remained inconclusive. Hayden describes the difficulties of believing a child with a history of bizarre psychological behavior.

Continuing Education Resources Through Texas CASA

Texas CASA has a wide variety of continuing education resources available online. We will accept any of the listings from the “Learning Center” at Texas CASA. Feel free to explore all Texas CASA has to offer. Once you complete one of the sessions, please go to Optima and record it under your training. If you need assistance with this, just give us a call at 903.597.7725. To see the complete list and access these opportunities go to  https://learn.texascasa.org/.