Continuing Education

All advocates are required to complete 12 hours of in-service training each year, between July 1 – June 30. Advocates can complete these hours by attending CASA Sacramento’s monthly in-service trainings, Caring for CASAs peer support group, or through Independent Study(books, videos, webinars, etc). Up to six hours annually can be earned through Independent Study. The other six must be completed through local program events. Here you will find several recommended options for Independent Study. If you complete these trainings, please fill out the In-Service Review Form and submit it by email to your Case Supervisor.


Recorded webinars are a great way to access on-demand trainings. The following webinars or webinar libraries are recommended to advocates:


If approved by staff, books are credited for 3 hours of Continuing Education with submission of an In-Service Review Form.  Books may be fiction or non-fiction, but must be relevant to your work as an advocate.  You may select your own books, below are suggestions from our staff and other CASA programs.  CASA Sacramento also has a small library available to advocates, which contains some (but not all) of these suggested titles.  You may contact your Case Supervisor if you are interested in checking out a book from our selection.   

No Sugar Coating: The Coffee Talk You Need About Foster Parenting
2019 by Jillian Goble. This no frills conversational book is highly engaging and straightforward and will help readers to better understand the experiences of foster parents.

The Body Keeps the Score
2014 by Bessel van der Kolk.  This book explores how to get through the difficulties that arise from a traumatic past by revealing the psychology behind them and revealing some of the techniques therapists use to help victims recover

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
2010 by Michelle Alexandra. This book shares how although Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, systems and patterns continue to target the African American community.  An extraordinary percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a parallel social universe, denied basic civil and human rights—this book challenges readers to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

What Happened to You
2021 by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry: An in-depth look into trauma and the way that it can affect the brain AND the shift that can happen when we ask “what happened to you?” rather than “what is wrong with you?” 

2016 by Matthew Desmond. Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Set in the poorest area of Milwaukee, the author follows eight families during the economic crisis of 2007-2008 as they struggled to pay their rent and the cycle of poverty that put barriers up along the way.

The Invisible Child
2021 by Andrea Elliott. This story about the power of resilience, the importance of family, and the cost of inequality is told through the crucible of one remarkable girl. This books takes on poverty, homelessness, racism, addiction, hunger and more as they shape the lives on one girl and her family.

Coming Out to the Streets: LGBTQ youth experiencing Homelessness
2020 by Brandon Andrew Robinson. LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the US homelessness population. In this book the author examines their lives. This looks into lives they lived before they experience homelessness-within their families, schools, and other institutions-and later when they navigate the streets, deal with police, and access shelter and other services.

The Shadow System: Mass Incarceration and the American Family
2020 by Sylvia A. Harvey. A searing expose of the effects of the mass incarceration crisis on families-including 2.7 million American children who have a parent locked up. The author follows the fears, challenges, and small victories of three families struggling to live within the confines of a brutal system.

A Place Called Home
2022 by David Ambroz. A Galvanizing, stirring memoir about growing up homeless and in foster care to become a leading advocate for child welfare”. David was the speaker at the National CASA Conference in 2023.

Labor and Sex Trafficking Among Homeless Youth: A Ten City Study, Full Report
2017 by Laura T. Murphy. A study of human trafficking risks for youth in ten cities across the US and Canada, including LA and Oakland, CA. This study provides excellent research on the link between human trafficking vulnerability and youth who identify as homeless, LGBTQ, and children in foster care.  Free PDF

White Fragility
2018 by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. White Fragility looks at why White people frequently overlook their privilege and their biases.  Follow up book, Nice Racism, continues this exploration by revealing how this is done.

Angelique: A Transitional Age Youth Novel
2016 by Deena Saunders-Green. Fictionalized story of a 19 year old young women transitioning into the AB-12 program.  The main character is an example youth may identify with as they navigate programs, and shows the important role a safe adult can play to help bridge gaps for a young person achieving self-sustainability.

Adoption Unfiltered: Revelations from Adoptees, Birth Parents, Adoptive Parents and Allies
2023 by Sarah Easterly, Kelsey Vander Vilet Ranyard, and Lori Holden. A book on adoption, co-written by an adoptee and a long-time adoptive parent that shares about their experience.

Movies & TV

If approved by staff, TV series and movies can be credited according to their length with the submission of an In-Service Review Form.  Videos may be fiction or non-fiction and can include documentaries, but must be relevant to your work as an advocate.  You may select your own movies, or select one suggested below by our staff or other CASA programs: 

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 It can be found free: All Rise

Understanding Transition Age Youth (TAY) – Combined Version
a documentary from Northwestern University (2023). Follows teens in foster care as they navigate the transition into adulthood. Includes stories of youth who are incarcerated as they turn 18, how to use terms sensitively, and the reality of options, stigmas, and challenges TAY face. (56 minutes)

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

Generation Found
Drug abuse and addiction are rampant in schools around the world but particularity in America. This documentary explores how drugs are becoming a self-medicating coping mechanism for trauma and non-trauma surviving children alike. Watch as a Texas school takes a stand and give a generation of lost children the hope and support they need. Time: 1.5 hours Where it can be found: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, or Vudu

Instant Family
When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child, but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hope of becoming a family.  Available on Amazon Prime.

After fleeing an abusive relationship, a young mother finds a job cleaning houses as she fights to provide for her child and build them a better future.  This fictional tale gives great insight into what it looks like to be in “survival mode,” navigate services, and parent through domestic abuse.  Available on Netflix.

Finding Home: A Foster Youth Story
This film is also available by DVD in our CASA office resource library. Grab a friend or some fellow CASAs and have a great discussion around the challenges and victories of the youth in this film as they navigate the transition into adulthood and the resources and barriers within the AB-12 system. Available in the CASA Sacramento DVD Library.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women docuseries on PBS
DVD Available in the CASA Sacramento Library or online Utah Insight | Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women | Season 3 | Episode 4 | PBS


If approved by staff, podcast episodes can count as Independent Study for the run time of each episode. You may select your own podcasts, or select one suggested below by our staff or other CASA programs: 

Brene Brown interviews professor Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist. Kendi’s work presents a revolutionary approach to confronting and uprooting racism within our culture and ourselves. Kendi has written four books and is Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. How to Be an Antiracist | Podcast – Brené Brown

CASA Connection Podcast: Explore podcast library on variety of advocacy topics including adoption, equity, building trust, and CASA impact stories.  Keep in mind that CASA programs differ by region and jurisdiction.  CASA Connection | CASA SHaW (

A discussion on trauma informed support for children experiencing foster care and adoption. Glean practical and trauma-informed guidance for advocates from husband and wife team, Josh Hook, a psychology professor, and Jenn Ranter Hook, the executive director of an advocacy organization for foster families and former trauma therapist for children in foster care. Provides insight on how to step into a child’s story and create space for their feelings and experiences, honoring both their past experiences and the present and future through empathy. The Better Samaritan Podcast: Advocacy in Action: Trauma-Informed Support for Adoption and Foster Care on Apple Podcasts

Unbelievably Resilient: A group of former foster youth striving to change the narrative for youth in foster care.  “For too long, those of us who are, or were, in foster care have had our voices silenced, or have been labeled with harmful stereotypes, stigmas, and soundbites. In many instances, we have not been given the platform to tell our stories, our way; we have not had anyone to turn up the volume on our mics and help us to tell the truth about who we really are. And who we really are, is what is needed most to change the harmful narratives that have stained the public perception of foster care and the people who experience the system.” | Listen on Spotify

In-Service Review Form

Please complete the form below for each training for which you would like to receive Independent Study hours.  Submit the completed form to your Case Supervisor by email.


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