The following is a list of approved books and movie for continuing education. If you see that a great book or film is missing, let us know and we can add it.
|A Deep Dark Secret, Author: Kimberla Lawson Roby|
Sexually abused for five years, studious 12-year-old Jillian Maxwell lives in terror of her pedophile stepfather. An intense gem in an authentic voice.
|Broken, Author: Shy Keenan|
A shocking true story of abuse.
|Child C, Author: Christopher Spry|
Surviving a foster mother's reign of terror
|Damaged, Author: Cathy Glass|
A small girl is placed into a foster home (the author's) and is unable to form relationships and mature due to past abuse.
|Mummy Told Me Not to Tell, Author: Cathy Glass|
When Wayne arrives at Cathy's door at 7 years old, he has already passed through the hands of four different caregivers in four weeks. As the details of his short life emerge, it becomes clear that to help him, Cathy will face her biggest challenge yet.
|A Child's Journey Through Placement|
Fahlberg has provided the comprehensive guide for all who care about advocating children with all kinds of behavior and disorder issues.
|I Speak for This Child, Author: Gay Courter|
Written by a guardian ad litem volunteer in Florida, this book tells of her experience working with children in the court system.
|What I Call Life, Author: Jill Wolfson|
A foster child is the main character in Jill Wolfson's book, written to give foster kids their own heroines and sense of culture/belonging.
|A Child Called It, Author: Dave Pelzer|
A controversial memoir describing horrific abuse sustained by the author as a child, before he was finally rescued by an astute teacher.
|A Guidebook for Raising Foster Children by Susan McNair Blatt, MD |
This "book of directions" about foster care is based on questions and their answers from foster parents and children. From newborns to teens, from health problems to the juvenile justice system, it's all in here. Written by a pediatrician, this book offers guidance and suggestions to assist foster parents in the process of raising their children.
|Adopting The Older Child by Claudia L. Jewett |
This classic book describes a child's transition from the honeymoon period through the testing phase and on to the full integration into a family. It gives practical, caring advice on how to handle each situation. The author has booth personal and professional experience which she draws upon skillfully.
|Helping Children Cope With Separation And Loss by Claudia L. Jewett-Jarratt |
All foster and adopted children have suffered a loss-the loss of their birthparents. This book contains compassionate, step-by-step guidance for any concerned adult who wants to help a child talk about, cope with, and recover from a loss. It offers warm advice, specific techniques, and innovative ideas for helping children overcome the sadness, anger, and anxiety they feel during a difficult time.
|Walk a Mile in My Shoes: A Book about Biological Parents for Foster Parents and Social Workers Judith A.B. Lee Danielle Nisivoccia |
This book will help foster parents and caseworkers "get into the shoes" of biological parents. Foster parents may use it as a self-help guide. Workers will find it helps attune them to the-tasks both foster and biological parents face. Agencies will find it especially effective for use in the separate and joint training of caseworkers and foster parents and for use by teachers and students in learning about biological families.
|When Do I Go Home? Intervention Strategies for Foster Parents and Helping Professionals Sally G. Hoyle |
The first section of the book, When Do I Go Home? tells the story of Karli and her brother Jon. Karli and her baby brother have been taken from their home. She doesn't know where her mother is, and now she and her brother are being placed in separate foster homes! The second part of the book identifies the challenges that arise when children like Karli and Jon are taken into an unfamiliar system. The author's practical intervention strategies will help foster parents and other professionals meet the needs of these children with sensitivity and compassion.
|The Sexualized Child in Foster Care: A Guide for Foster Parents and Other Professionals by Sally G. Hoyle |
This book gives practical advice, information, training tips, and references for those who work with children who have been sexually abused in a previous placement. Chapters include information about sex and sexuality, distinguishing normal from abnormal sexual behavior, treatment methods, research on sexual abuse assessment, and concerns about the sexually aggressive child.
|It's My Life Casey Family Programs |
This book was created by, for, and with youth. It draws on the expertise and insights of youth in foster care, alumni of care, social workers, researchers, and education specialists. It is designed for child welfare professionals and others responsible for guiding and supporting teens as they prepare for adulthood.
|Orphans of the Living: Stories of America's Children in Foster Care, Author Jennifer Toth |
This book depicts the lives of older children in the foster care system in America. It is gritty, real, and very compelling book!
|Uncertain Futures: Foster Youth in Transition to Adulthood Edmund V. Mech |
Transitioning from adolescence to adulthood is a critical task for youth in foster care, who are often forced to emancipate from the foster care system without any real prepraration, family support, or the education necessary to achieve gainful employment. As a result, many former foster youth end up homeless or living in terrible conditions. Uncertain Futures discusses the plight of youth who have aged out of the system. It provides meaningful, practical solutions for teaching youth to support themselves before they are forced out of care, and details programs that assist youth in becoming
|The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Authors: Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz|
Traumatized children can teach us about loss, love and healing. A psychiatrist carefully examines and explains attachment disorders including RAD.
|Gardens of the Night (2008)|
Rated R -An 8-year-old girl is taken from her home and convinced that her family does not want her anymore. After enduring years of horror, she and her fellow victim are dumped by their capturers. Now, 17 years old and no one to turn to except each other, they do their best to survive life on the streets, until one day she finally accepts the help of a shelter counselor to find her way home. However, what she truly finds is the love of her life and that you can never go back. "Gardens of the Night", is a haunting, gritty and topical story which delves deep into the world of child abduction and where it often leads... for the "lucky ones." The writer/director, Damian Harris bases his story on the kids, counselors, cops and pimps he met during two years of research.
|Bastard out of Carolina (1996)|
Rated R -A story of child abuse in the 1950s American South. Based on a novel by Dorothy Allison, the filmtells the tale of Bone ,a poor white girl so named because she was born right after her mother survived a terrifying car crash. While Bone is still a small child, her single mother, Anney, meets and marries the sweet Lyle, and the two add another daughter to the family before Lyle dies in an auto accident. Anney is next courted by the less good-natured Glen, who takes out his rage on Bone both physically and sexually, as Bone becomes even more disillusioned at her mother's inability to get away from her monstrous husband. Set in South Carolina in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Bastard Out Of Carolina touches on many aspects of life, family, and hardship amidst the poor white of the South. -
|The Woodsman (2004)|
Rated R -After twelve years in prison, Walter arrives in an unnamed city, moves into a small apartment across the street from an elementary school, gets a job at a lumberyard, and mostly keeps to himself. A quiet, guarded man, Walter finds unexpected solace from Vickie, a tough-talking woman who promises not to judge him for his history. But Walter cannot escape his past. A convicted sex offender, Walter is warily eyed by his brother-in-law, shunned by his sister, lives in fear of being discovered at work, and is hounded by a suspicious local police officer, Detective Lucas. After befriending a young girl in a neighborhood park, Walter must also grapple with the terrible prospect of his own reawakened demons.
Rated R -A precocious but troubled young girl living in 1950s-era Alabama seeks solace in the music of Elvis Presley in director Deborah Kampmeier's controversial tale of childhood trauma and musical healing. An air of repression lingers over the home of spirited youngster Lewellen, who finds both comfort in the music of pop sensation Presley, as well as a place to store her pain and anger. In time Lewellen begins to find her own voice, a voice that will instill her with the strength to move beyond the pain of her past and into a more hopeful future. -
|Antwone Fisher (2002)|
Rated PG-13 -A sailor prone to violent outbursts is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing at first to open up, the young man eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhood. Through the guidance of his doctor, he confronts his painful past and begins a quest to find the family he never knew.
|I am Sam (2001)|
Rated PG-13 -Sam Dawson has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. He works at a Starbucks and is obsessed with the Beatles. He has a daughter with a homeless woman; she abandons them as soon as they leave the hospital. He names his daughter Lucy Diamond (after the Beatles song), and raises her. But as she reaches age 7 herself, Sam's limitations start to become a problem at school; she's intentionally holding back to avoid looking smarter than him. The authorities take her away, and Sam shames high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison into taking his case pro bono. In the process, he teaches her a great deal about love, and whether it's really all you need.
|Finding a Family (2011)|
TV Movie -Bright Alex grows up in Michigan proud of his mother, Romanian immigrant Ileana, who became a professor, vowing to make her dream come true by graduating from Harvard. But when mother becomes manic-depressive and repeatedly dumps her medication, Alex each time lands in foster care. At age 16, he gets legal emancipation and vows to take charge of their lives himself.
-In "America," Dr. Maureen Brennan, a psychiatrist at a youth treatment center, encounters her newest patient, a bi-racial boy named America. Through their sessions, Dr. Brennan helps America come to terms with his roller-coaster life, which began when he was taken by authorities from his crack-addicted mother, and placed into foster care as an infant. The short time of stability in his life occurred when America lived with Mrs. Harper, the elderly nanny to one of his foster families. Later reunited with his mother, she soon abandons America and he is again placed into foster care. Lagging behind in school and full of anger, America retreats further away from society after years of sexual abuse. After attempting suicide, America is placed in a treatment center where Dr. Brennan helps him open up about his painful past and discover the support and courage he needs to get his life back on track.
|A Shine of Rainbows (2009)|
Rated PG -Maire O'Donnell is a loving woman as rare as a double rainbow. Joyful, warm and caring, she adopts a young orphan named Tomas and whisks him off to a new home on remote Corrie Island, off the coast of Ireland. Maire shares with Tomas the joys of her island home and introduces him to the whimsical local folklore, including the secret of the seals, and teaches him that everything you need is inside of you- if you really look. But Maire's stern husband Alec silently disapproves of Tomas' timidity and halting speech. He can't hide his disappointment that Tomas isn't the kind of child he was hoping for and his reluctance to get to know the boy makes Tomas unsure of whether he really belongs. Soon though, Tomas too falls in love with his home, befriending local children, descending into a secret bat-filled cave, and saving a stranded baby seal. When tragedy strikes however, Tomas is faced with his greatest challenge yet. He'll lose everything unless he can find- and share- the unique gifts ...
|Like Dandelion Dust (2009)|
Rated PG -13 -A compelling drama that explores the different meanings of being a parent through the gritty, realistic lives of the struggling, blue-collar Porters, and the privileged Campbell family. Their lives intersect, intertwine and collide, all for the love of a little boy. This film bravely exposes the humanity in each character reminding us that we each have the potential to be the best and worst versions of ourselves at any time.
|Mother and Child (2009)|
Rated R -A drama centered around three women: A 50-year-old woman, the daughter she gave up for adoption 35 years ago, and an African American woman looking to adopt a child of her own.
|Safe Harbor (2009)|
TV Movie-Doug and Robbie are about to set sail on a long trip when they unexpectedly find themselves foster parenting a group of troubled teenage boys. The experience changes their lives for the better, and they decide to stay in town and run the foster home for boys permanently.
|The Blind Side (2009)|
Rated PG-13 -Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Michael has no idea who his father is and his mother is a drug addict. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.
Rated R -James "Speedy" Reedy is anything but. He's a twenty-something slacker sleepwalking through life in a Midwestern town. His older sister, Joleen calls him in the middle of the night after the police have arrested her boyfriend and tossed her and her 12-year-old daughter Tara on the street. James takes them in, then Joleen, who claims to have a plan, leaves with a trucker and a stash of drug money. James tries to cope, but soon he's lost his job, and child protective services places Tara in foster care. She's miserable. Can James wake up and find a way to be more than just a nice guy? A road trip to his childhood may hold a key, or it may be another bad dream.
|An American Crime (2007)|
Rated R -Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific, leaving one child dead and the rest scarred for life.
|December Boys (2007)|
Rated PG-13 -One summer, four orphan boys who have grown to be the closest of friends find themselves competing for the attention of the same family.
|Gracie's Choice (2004)|
TV Movie -A teenage girl tries to raise her three half-brothers and 1 half-sister on her own after their drug-addicted mother is sent to jail.
|White Oleander (2002)|
Rated PG-13 -Astrid Magnussen is a 15 year old girl, living in California. Her mother, Ingrid, is a beautiful, free-spirited poet. Their life, though unusual, is satisfying until one day, a man named Barry Kolker (that her mother refers to at first as "The goat man") comes into their lives, and Ingrid falls madly in love with him, only to have her heart broken, and her life ruined. For revenge, Ingrid murders Barry with the deadly poison of her favourite flower: The White Oleander. She is sent to prison for life, and Astrid has to go through foster home after foster home. Throughout nearly a decade she experiences forbidden love, religion, near-death experiences, drugs, starvation, and how it feels to be loved. But throughout these years, she keeps in touch with her mother via letters to prison. And while Ingrid's gift is to give Astrid the power to survive, Astrid's gift is to teach her Mother about love.
|The Cider House Rules (1999)|
Rated PG-13 -Homer is an orphan in remote St. Cloud, Maine. Never adopted, he becomes the favorite of orphanage director Dr. Larch, who imparts his full medical knowledge on Homer, who becomes a skilled, albeit unlicensed, physician. But Homer yearns for a self-chosen life outside the orphanage. When Wally and pregnant Candy visit the orphanage Dr. Larch provides medically safe, albeit illegal, abortions Homer leaves with them to work on Wally's family apple farm. Wally goes off to war, leaving Homer and Candy alone together. What will Homer learn about life and love in the cider house? What of the destiny that Dr. Larch has planned for him?
|Secrets and Lies (1996)|
Rated R -Cynthia lives in London with her sullen street-sweeper daughter. Her brother has been successful with his photographer's business and now lives nearby in a more upmarket house. But Cynthia hasn't even been invited round there after a year. So, all round, she feels rather lonely and isolated. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Hortense, adopted at birth but now grown up, starts to try and trace her mother
|Losing Issaiah (1995)|
Rated R -An African-American baby, abandoned by his crack addicted mother is adopted by a white social worker and her husband. Several years later, the baby's mother finds out her son is not dead, as she thought before and goes to court to get him back.
|Child of Rage (1992)|
TV Movie-A priest and his wife adopt a brother and sister, but the girl has terrible outbursts of rage. They get her in treatment and try to find out the reason for this.
|My Sister's Keeper (2009)|
Rated PG-13 -In Los Angeles, the eleven year old Anna Fitzgerald seeks the successful lawyer Campbell Alexander trying to hire him to earn medical emancipation from her mother Sara that wants Anna to donate her kidney to her sister. She tells the lawyer the story of her family after the discovery that her older sister Kate has had leukemia; how she was conceived by in vitro fertilization to become a donor; and the medical procedures she has been submitted since she was five years old to donate to her sister. Campbell accepts to work pro bono and the obsessed Sara decides to go to court to force Anna to help her sister.
|The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)|
Rated R -The dysfunctional twenty-three years old Sarah takes her six years old natural son Jeremiah from the home of his beloved foster parents with the support of the social service to live with her. Along the years, the boy shares her insane and lowlife style and is introduced to booze and drugs and mentally, physically and sexually abused by Sarah, her lovers and her religiously fanatic family.
|August Rush (2007)|
Rated PG -This is a story of a music prodigy. Lyla is a renowned and beautiful cellist and Louis is a guitar player and vocalist at a club. Lyla and Louis fall in love once they meet each other following the music. Since they have different lives, they have to separate without seeing each other again. However, Lyla has had their baby - Evan, a prodigy born to music. Lyla has an accident and bears the baby but Lyla's father gives the baby to an orphanage without telling her, for fear of affecting her career. After that, both Louis and Lyla give up their music careers. Eleven years later, poor little Evan believes that his parents are waiting for him and goes to New York to find them. In New York, his musical gift leads him to success but also gives him some trouble. A monger uses Evan to make money and prevents him from achieving success. He escapes and runs into a church and people there are surprised by his gift and send him to the best music school, Juilliard. There he receives an education where his genius is recognized, and he creates his composition - August Rhapsody in C major. At the same time, Lyla and Louis both begin to play music again and Louis returns to New York. Because of his perfect performance, Evan is granted an opportunity to play his music in Central Park in front of thousands of people. There are three composers featured, of which he is the last; his mother is the cellist in the preceding performance. As Evan is conducting the orchestra in his rhapsody, Lyla and Louis come to the concert following the music again.
Rated R -It's Harlem 1987. Sixteen year old Claireece Jones - who goes by her middle name Precious - is an illiterate, overweight black girl. She is pregnant with her second child, both children fathered by her biological father, who has continually raped her since she was a child, but who she doesn't see otherwise. Her infant daughter, Mongo - such named since she has Down Syndrome - lives with Precious' grandmother. Precious lives with her mother Mary, who abuses Precious both physically and emotionally. Mary does nothing but smoke, watch television and collect welfare through fraud (as she doesn't ever look for a job) and believes that education does nothing for Precious, who she would rather also collect welfare if only to bring money into the household. To escape her life, Precious often daydreams of herself in glamorous situations. Because of her current pregnancy, Precious' principal transfers her into an alternative school. In dealing with the school's sympathetic teacher Miss Blu Rain, Precious begins to believe that she can have a future by learning how to read and write. Despite some devastating news from her mother following the birth of her child, Precious also begins to believe she can escape the grips of her abusive mother, who, up to this point, was Precious' only real support.
|This Boys Life (1993)|
Rated R -In 1957, a son and mother flee the East and an abusive boyfriend to find a new life, and end up in Seattle, where the mother meets a polite garage mechanic. The boy continually gets into trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd. The mom marries the mechanic, but they soon find out that he's an abusive and unreasoning alcoholic, and they struggle to maintain hope in an impossible situation as the boy grows up with plans to escape the small town by any means possible. Based on a true story by Tobias Wolff.
Rated PG -An examination of the life of acclaimed 'horse whisperer' Buck Brannaman, who recovered from years of child abuse to become a well-known expert in the interactions between horses and people.
|The Unloved (2009)|
-Lucy is eleven years old. Having been neglected by her estranged mother and father, she is placed in a children's home. Through her eyes, we follow Lucy's struggle to cope with the system. Her saving is her self-belief and her certainty that she is being watched over and protected by the holy spirit. Hers is a heroic quest for love, beauty and transcendence.
|Ask Us Who We Are|
(Foster care, voices of foster youth) Ask Us Who We Are is a documentary film focused on the challenges and extraordinary lives of youth in foster care. The film is a reflection on loss and the search for belonging and finding family.
(Foster care, poverty, incarcerated parent) A compelling documentary about a 3-year-old girl who tries to navigate through the harsh reality of severe poverty, her teenage mother's incarceration and looming foster care.
(Adoption, race, family) A documentary about a trans-racial adoptee who finds her birth mother, and meets the rest of a family who didn't know she existed, including her birth father. A story about identity, the complexities of trans-racial adoption, and most importantly, CLOSURE.
|First Circle (2010)|
(Foster care) This emotionally involving documentary follows the journeys of several foster children in Idaho and Oregon as they navigate the world of government social services and temporary custody, looking for love, acceptance and healing.
(Foster care, stories written and performed by foster youth) Know How captures the reality of life in foster care from the point of view of those living in it. It's not a documentary nor is it fiction. It's a hybrid approach for using film to create social change. Instead of professional screenwriters and actors, these true stories are written and performed by a cast of ordinary foster care youth, and their performances are powerful, moving, and eye-opening.
|How Does it Feel to be Unwanted?: Stories of Resistance and Resilience from Mexicans Living in the United States by Eileen Truax||Cultural Competency||Book|
|The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman||Cultural Competency||Book|
|Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson||Cultural Competency||Book|
|$2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer||Cultural Competency||Book|
|Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris||Cultural Competency||Book|
|Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance||Cultural Competency||Book|
|White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo||Cultural Competency||Book|
|Behind in the Count: My Journey from Juvenile Delinquent to Baseball Agent Kurt Varricchio redefines the meaning of a difficult childhood in his intimate memoir, Behind in the Count: My Journey from Juvenile Delinquent to Baseball Agent. Whether it was trying to fill his empty stomach with one last scoop of Ovaltine, getting tied to a tree, being punished with a wrench, or sleeping on the rooftops of local strip malls, Kurt’s survival is nothing short of miraculous. After losing his father at two-years-old, his childhood commenced in a dilapidated home where physical and emotional abuse ran rampant. So, Kurt did what he had to do to survive: run. And steal. After several trips to juvenile hall and group homes across the state of Florida, law officials, prison guards, and even his own family thought his fate was sealed—right behind those impenetrable bars. Kurt was ultimately removed from his family and placed in Florida’s Foster Care System just before his 12th birthday.||General||Book|
|The Deepest Well: Healing the Long -Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris, is an excellent book. Dr. Harris is a local pediatrician (in San Francisco). The book is about linking adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress with health problems later in life.||Trauma||Book|
|Unconditional Care: Relationship-Based, Behavioral Intervention with vulnerable children and families by Sprinson, J. S., & Berrick, K. (2010)||Trauma||Book|
|Building the bonds of Attachment: Awakening the love in deeply troubled children by Daniel A. Hughes||Trauma||Book|
|Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz. This one is about addiction and may help advocates understand parents from a different perspective as well as any of our youth who struggle with addiction.||Addiction||Book|
|Short Term 12 At a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers, Grace is a young counselor trying to do her best for kids who often have been pulled from the worst kinds of home situations. Even then, life is not easy as Grace and her colleagues care for kids who are too often profoundly scarred, even as they try to have lives of their own. Now, things are coming to a head as Grace readies for marriage even as some her charges are coming to major turning points in their lives. To cope, Grace will have to make difficult perceptions and decisions that could put her career, and more importantly her charges, at dire risk.||Teens||Movie|
Books and movies are approved for 1.5 hours of CE.