Books, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts and More
"The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family" by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine. This book is a great resource for understanding how to connect with children who have had troubled pasts. It offers insights into dealing with various challenges and helping children heal.
"Another Place at the Table" by Kathy Harrison. A memoir that provides a vivid look into the life of a foster parent, this book gives a firsthand account of the challenges and rewards of fostering children in need.
"Three Little Words: A Memoir" by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. This memoir shares the harrowing story of the author's own experience in the foster care system, providing a powerful perspective on the resilience of children in the face of adversity.
"To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care" by Cris Beam. An in-depth look at the American foster care system, this book explores the complexities and challenges faced by children, foster families, and the system itself.
"Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Traumatized Children" by Daniel A. Hughes. Focused on therapeutic techniques, this book is crucial for understanding how to develop emotional connections with children who have experienced trauma.
"Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Forgotten Child" by Cathy Glass. A true story by a foster carer that details the challenges of caring for a child with a traumatic past, offering insights into the emotional and practical aspects of fostering.
"Fostering Change: A Guide to Working with Children in Foster Care" by John DeGarmo. Provides practical advice for those working with foster children, focusing on understanding their needs and supporting them through their journey.
"The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel van der Kolk. While not specific to foster care, this book is an essential read for understanding the impact of trauma on children and adults alike, offering insights into healing practices.
"The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe and Stable Home" by John DeGarmo. A comprehensive guide for current and prospective foster parents, covering everything from the decision to foster to dealing with various challenges.
"Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential--and Endangered" by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz. This book explores the importance of empathy in human development and society, with implications for how we care for and connect with children in foster care.
"Instant Family" (2018)
- A comedy-drama inspired by real events, focusing on a couple who decide to start a family by adopting through the foster care system. It portrays the challenges and rewards of foster care and adoption.
"The Blind Side" (2009)
- Based on a true story, this film tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager who becomes an All-American football player with the help of a caring woman and her family. It highlights the impact of support and advocacy on a young person's life.
"Short Term 12" (2013)
- A critically acclaimed drama set in a residential treatment facility for teenagers, focusing on the lives of the residents and their young supervisor. It showcases the complexities of foster care and the effects of trauma.
- A documentary that dives into the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, one of the largest county child welfare systems in the U.S., offering a realistic look at the challenges within the foster care system and the efforts to improve children's lives.
- A biographical film about Saroo Brierley, who was lost from his family at a young age and adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, he searches for his lost family in India. It highlights themes of identity, loss, and the meaning of family.
"Antwone Fisher" (2002)
- Directed by and starring Denzel Washington, this film is based on the true story of a young Navy man who, with the help of a psychiatrist, confronts his traumatic childhood in the foster care system.
"I Am Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story" (2019)
- A Lifetime movie based on the true story of Regina Louise, a young African American girl who navigates over 30 foster homes and psychiatric facilities before the age of 18, and her one constant advocate who fought to adopt her.
- A series of short films that have gained attention for their poignant portrayal of the emotional experiences of children in foster care. Although not a feature film, these shorts are impactful for their realistic depiction of the foster care experience.
"White Oleander" (2002)
- A drama based on the novel of the same name, following a young girl through several foster homes after her mother is imprisoned for murder. It explores the impact of foster care and the search for identity amid chaos.
"The Glass Castle" (2017)
- Based on Jeannette Walls' memoir, this film chronicles the life of a successful journalist all the way back to her poverty-stricken and dysfunctional upbringing, touching on themes of resilience and familial bonds.
"The Fosters" (2013-2018)
- This drama series follows the lives of the Foster family, a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms. The show tackles issues like foster care, adoption, and LGBTQ themes with sensitivity and depth.
"This is Us" (2016-2022)
- While not exclusively about foster care or child advocacy, this critically acclaimed series explores family dynamics, adoption, and the impact of childhood experiences across generations, offering valuable insights into the emotional aspects of these issues.
"Anne with an E" (2017-2019)
- Based on the classic novel "Anne of Green Gables," this series offers a modern take on the story of an orphan girl in the late 19th century who finds a new life with an elderly pair of siblings. It explores themes of belonging, resilience, and the quest for love and acceptance.
- Although a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family, "Shameless" addresses serious issues such as poverty, addiction, and the child welfare system, showcasing the resilience of children in adverse conditions.
"Party of Five" (2020)
- A reboot of the original 1990s drama, this version focuses on the five Acosta children as they navigate daily life and challenges after their parents are deported to Mexico. It touches on themes of family separation, foster care, and the fight for stability.
- A miniseries that centers on an 11-year-old transgender girl and her family's struggles to understand and support her transition. It highlights the importance of advocacy and support within the family unit and beyond.
"One Mississippi" (2015-2017)
- A semi-autobiographical series by comedian Tig Notaro, who returns to her hometown after the sudden death of her mother. The show explores complex family dynamics, including Tig's stepfather's guardianship and issues of consent and childhood trauma.
"Raised by Wolves" (2020-)
- While this is a sci-fi series at its core, it interestingly explores themes of parenting, family bonds, and what it means to be human, through the lens of two androids raising human children on a distant planet.
"Raising Dion" (2019-2022)
- A superhero drama about a single mother raising a son with supernatural abilities, this series delves into the challenges of parenting and protecting a child with unique needs, touching on themes of secrecy, trust, and the pursuit of normalcy.
"When They See Us" (2019)
- A miniseries based on the true story of the Central Park Five, this powerful drama highlights the flaws in the juvenile justice system and the impact of wrongful conviction on young lives and their families.
"Foster Care: An Unparalleled Journey"
- This podcast provides real stories and insights from people who have lived the foster care experience, including foster children, parents, and professionals in the field. It's a great resource for understanding the personal and systemic aspects of foster care.
"Child Welfare Information Gateway Podcast"
- Produced by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, this podcast offers discussions on topics relevant to child welfare professionals, advocates, and families. It covers policy, research, and best practices related to child protection, foster care, and adoption.
"The Honestly Adoption Podcast"
- Hosted by Mike and Kristin Berry, authors and adoptive parents, this podcast focuses on adoption, foster care, and parenting children who have experienced trauma. It's a supportive resource offering practical advice and encouragement.
"A Fostered Life"
- Created by a foster parent, this podcast offers resources, tips, and stories to help foster parents navigate the challenges and rewards of fostering. It emphasizes the importance of community and support in the foster care journey.
- This unique podcast features stories from adoptees, providing insight into the adoptee experience. It covers topics such as search and reunion, healing from adoption trauma, and navigating relationships with birth and adoptive families.
"The Forgotten Initiative"
- Focused on bringing awareness and support to the foster care community, this podcast shares stories and insights that aim to inspire action and support for foster children, families, and workers.
"Focus on Foster Care"
- This podcast delves into various aspects of foster care, from the experiences of children and foster parents to the professionals who work within the system. It aims to educate and advocate for foster care improvements.
- Not specifically about foster care or CASA, but relevant for parenting in challenging circumstances, this podcast discusses how to raise empowered and confident children through conversations with diverse parents and experts.
"Strength to Be Human"
- While broader in scope, covering topics of creative writing, literature, and human conditions, this podcast occasionally touches on issues relevant to child advocacy and the experiences of those in the foster care system.
"Juvenile Justice Information Exchange Podcast"
- Focused on juvenile justice issues, this podcast covers a range of topics relevant to children in the justice system, including reform efforts, advocacy, and the intersection with foster care and child welfare.
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"As a CASA, you make a meaningful difference in a child's life - a child that doesn't have many people looking out for them."
"Every child deserves a safe environment to grow up in, including a roof over their head, nutritious food in the belly, and an opportunity for education. I'm happy to be a part of the process by being a caring adult who can help a child receive those things."
"There is nothing like the feeling of earning a hug from a child who is generally suspicious of everybody. It's amazing what your calm, regular, and reliable presence can do for a child in need. This is one of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities out there!"