Continuing Education

 Independent Study Options

CE 1.5 Recordings (click on links):
  • Interpreting People with Tim McDonald (recorded 2023-06): Tim McDonald is a seasoned Smith County Detective. He has a history of interviewing suspects and working criminal cases involving children. Tim McDonald also started Aspis Consulting Inc, a nonprofit that helps parents keep their children safe on the internet. He discussed scenarios that include reading non-verbal communication, such as body language. We gained an understanding of multiple types of language patterns.
  • TBRI with Georgia Beard (recorded 2023-05): TBRI is an attachment-based and trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. In this 1.5 CE, we learned about how trauma affects children in foster care and behaviors that surface as a result. Georgia Beard explained the three principles of TBRI and provided tips and tools that benefited our advocacy.
  • ESSA (recorded 2023-04): April Munoz offers insight for advocates who are working with children whose families are bilingual and ESL. This presentation shows us how we can effectively advocate for children in an educational setting and ensure equitable access. This includes identifying support for children and families as an advocate, which includes language program services and linguistic accommodations.
  • Burnout and Compassion Fatigue for Children and Volunteers (recorded 2023-03). Dr. Peter Simbi distinguishes the similarities and differences between Compassion Fatigue and Burn-Out for our children and volunteers. In this CE, we learn about ways we can effectively prevent burn-out and compassion fatigue and consider what factors contribute to this. Dr. Simbi provides a guided assessment of a Burn Out assessment. LINK TO ASSESSMENT:
  • The Whole Child and the Holistic Approach (recorded 2023-02). Parent and Family Engagement Coordinator, Ellie Perez, offers ways that we can engage the entirety of a child. Perez discussed ways that we can build partnership with children’s educations and the relationship for effective communication. Perez also discussed how Supportive Environments promote healthy attachments and relationships. This 1.5 CE benefited advocates by understanding their children’s system of support and how to meet children’s needs, address barriers, and identify and implement support. This also supports foster children’s social and emotional development.
  • Community-Based Care (CBC) is a new way of providing foster care and case management in the State of Texas. (recorded 2023-01) Speaker: Michael Roberts

additional Independent Study Options

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 from 45 minutes (.75 CE credit) to an hour (1 CE credit). 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 11-year-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 complicated past (neglect/abuse of her and her siblings before 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 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 Foster family members led by lesbian couple Stef and Lena, a cop and school vice-principal, respectively. They raise one biological and four adopted children in San Diego, California.  *Rated TV-14.

PBS Frontline: Growing Up Poor In America (click on the 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 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 US 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 of safety and justice, Brooke battles a broken system that pushes to keep her father in the home, and she risks losing the support of her 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 a 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 and 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.

On-line Education:

Texas Health Steps:; change the format to “course,” and you’ll see options ranging from 1 to 2 hours. Texas Health Steps’ award-winning on-line 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 the 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 the title to link)  1 hour (1 CE Credit). Webinar presented by Richard LaVallo, Legal Director at Disability Rights Texas. In this webinar, LaVallo covered the following:

    • 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

30 minutes (.5 CE Credit)
Cathy Thompson, the 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 the 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 we found these videos that we thought might help identify the growth and development milestones we often look for.

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 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

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 these podcasts will 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, don’t hesitate to get in touch with for clarification.

CASA on the Go: Continuing Education for CASA Volunteers:   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   Today, over 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 update 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 essential staff and volunteer skills to help you advocate for abused and neglected kids.

The Forgotten Podcast  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!

CaseyCast  Podcast Intro: Welcome to the Annie E. Casey Foundation podcast. A monthly conversation focuses on how we 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:   Podcast Intro: The Child Welfare Information Gateway Podcast shares the innovations, lessons, and perspectives of those working to improve the 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, US Department of Health and Human Services.

One in Ten National Children’s Alliance:  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 the National Children’s Alliance, the largest network of care centers in the US serving child abuse victims. Visit us on-line at

Doin’ the Work: 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: Podcast Intro: The trauma-informed paradigm challenges traditional views and approaches in various areas of 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:  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 an actual, unpolished, honest podcast that reflects both the magic and the messiness of what it means to be human. Episodes will include conversations with the people teaching me, challenging me, confusing me, or maybe even ticking me off a little. I’ll also have direct discussions 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**  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 laboratory work, clinical trials, or data collection. I will be an Armchair Expert in the grand tradition of 16th-century scientists.

Hidden Brain:  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:  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 the 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:  Podcast Intro: Markis, Hannah, Devonte, Abigail, Jeremiah, and Sierra Hart—six beautiful black children aged 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:   Podcast Intro: Sibling Revelry explores the sibling bond, family dynamics, the human mind, and 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:  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 most challenging 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 takeaways 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, open, accessible format.

CASA for Kids of East Texas Continuing Education Library

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 Toddler 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 unique 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, and even how we define the disorder–are all changing radically. And doctors realize that millions suffer from this condition, though the vast majority 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 resulted from 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 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 call us at 903.597.7725. To see the complete list and access these opportunities go to

Attention Advocates:  Be sure to enter any continuing education in your volunteer file in Optima.  Contact your case supervisor if you need instructions or assistance.