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"When I was looking for volunteer opportunities, I wanted to find something where I knew, without a doubt, that I was making a difference. The thing that is so compelling is that judges really do listen to what we have to say, and that makes a difference in the life of a child."

~ Lou S., Dallas CASA volunteer since 1997

Continuing Education

In order to keep current with issues that relate to the volunteer role, our volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education per year.

Continuing Education at Dallas CASA

Trauma Series

Several CASA Supervisors with mental health backgrounds have developed a training series to discuss the impact of trauma on children in care. This 4-part series will cover definitions, statistics, and symptoms related to trauma, explore the effects of trauma on the brain and a child’s overall development, provide tips for advocates on trauma-informed strategies to utilize when working with children with trauma histories, and touch on the impact of secondary traumatic stress for helpers within the child welfare system. Advocates are encouraged, but not required, to attend all 4 parts of the series.

When:
Part 2 – Impact of Trauma on the Brain and Development
Thursday, September 19, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Part 3 – Maximizing Physical and Psychological Safety
Tuesday, October 22, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Part 4 – Enhancing Well-being and Resilience
Tuesday, November 5, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Where: Dallas CASA, 2757 Swiss Ave., Dallas
Cost: No cost
Registration: Register here


Advocate Roundtable – Medical Advocacy

Medical advocacy is a quarterly requirement for all CASA cases. Are you curious how your fellow advocates effectively obtain and use information from doctors or therapists? Do you have an example of how your medical advocacy made a real difference in the life of a child and you’d like to share? Join fellow Dallas CASA advocates for an informal guided discussion to share medical advocacy challenges, successes, and tips. Advocates are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch. Dessert, coffee, and water will be provided.

When: Tuesday, September 24, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where
: Dallas CASA, 2757 Swiss Ave., Dallas
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Mediation Training

Please join Dallas CASA staff attorneys, Cheri Leutz and Taylor Pirtle, as they discuss CASA’s role in mediation and what to expect when your case is moving toward settlement or trial. Recommended training for all advocates with TMC cases. Offered quarterly.

When: Thursday, October 1, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where
: Dallas CASA, 2757 Swiss Ave., Dallas
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Continuing Education in the Community

Drug Endangered Children

This presentation will address the risk factors and implications of drug exposure to children, and will discuss how to identify possible risk factors of children using drugs. We will discuss ethical dilemmas and professional responsibility in child abuse and neglect cases, along with the new paths being forged by new research at Cook Children’s Medical Center.

When: Thursday, September 19, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Where: Gladney Center for Adoption, 6300 John Ryan Drive, Fort Worth
Cost: $10
Registration: Register here


Behind Closed Doors: Domestic Violence & Pediatrics

Pediatrician, Dr. Laurie Berger, will highlight what domestic violence is and explore the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences. The presentation will discuss the importance of domestic violence as a risk factor for health issues in children.

When: Tuesday, September 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Where: Ann Moody Place, 2241 Butler St. Dallas
Cost: No cost
Registration: RSVP to The Family Place by September 20


Continuing Education Online

Behavior Intervention Plans

Behavior Consultant and Autism Specialist, and Doug Brooks, M. Ed., SPEDTex Consultant, discuss behavior intervention plans including appropriate goals and interventions, and what parents can do if the BIP isn’t working for their child.

When: Tuesday, September 17, 12:15 p.m.
Cost: No cost
Registration: Register here


The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth

Two of the members of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) Committee that produced this recently released report—Leslie Leve, PhD, University of Oregon, and Sue Mangold, JD, Juvenile Law Center—will present report findings that relate most directly to children in the child welfare system. Their presentation will be followed by a conversation between the presenters and the guest editors of a soon-to-be-released special issue of Child Welfare journal, “Twenty Years after the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (“Chafee”): What We Know Now About Meeting the Needs of Teens.” This is the first in a series of webinars on this topic.

When: Tuesday, September 24, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Cost: No cost
Registration: Register here


Safety Planning for Victims of Child Abuse

Enhance and build knowledge regarding the use of and development of safety plans for victims of child abuse including physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect. Provide disciplines within multi-disciplinary teams to develop plans to help attend to the safety of children who have been subjected to abuse and neglect. Identify the key elements to consider when contemplating or developing a safety plan. Recognize what it means to make a safety plan, who can make a safety plan, be a part of the safety plan, and what, if any, documentation do I need when putting a safety plan in place.

When: Wednesday, September 25, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Cost: No cost
Registration: Register here


The Perpetual Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse (Isn’t What You Think)

This week’s guest addresses some misconceptions of child sexual abuse, speaks on the survivors of incest, and the fact that much of the continual trauma suffered by these victims is due to keeping silent about the event. She also discusses the Four Rules of Sexual Consent and addresses the question of whether it is possible to have one’s abuser in one’s life and still be healthy.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationListen here


Teaching and Mental Health with Jessica Minahan

Although much has been written about the impact of such psychiatric difficulties on learning, teachers often have little guidance on effective strategies to support students with mood, anxiety and other mental health concerns. So what can be done to help these students?

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationListen here


Child In Mind- Why Do Some People Self-harm?

Self-harming behavior is becoming more common according to recent statistics and particularly among young people between 16 and 25 years But what is self-harming behavior, why do people do it and what help is available for those affected?

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationListen here


Advocacy for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Children

This hour-long Texas CASA webinar was recorded in May of 2019 and features speakers Dr. Jon and Shelly Bergeron. Jon Bergeron is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with foster and adoptive families struggling with attachment and trauma-related difficulties. Shelly Bergeron is the Statewide Family Services Coordinator in the Educational Resource Center on Deafness at the Texas School for the Deaf.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationListen here


Ongoing programs:

Targeted: True Crime Domestic Violence

Targeted Podcast True Crime Domestic Violence investigates cases of family violence each season, using academic research to help interpret the events so we can become better advocates.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
Registration: Listen here


Child Sexual Abuse: What Investigators Need to Know

WI CAN Educational Series presents a one-hour video with Dr. Rita Ventura from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin about what investigators on child sexual abuse cases need to know.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Texas CASA Training

Texas CASA has created an interactive e-learning course, Online Core Advocacy Skills Training (OCAST), to walk you through everything that happens when a child comes to the attention of CPS. Within the course, there are six modules that take one to two hours each to complete, with a quiz at the end of each module. Participants will receive a brief follow-up survey and will be able to print their grades as proof of completion

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
Registration: Register here


Kinder-Gardening

The Carpenter Vs. The Gardener, podcast exploring two models of modern parenting. Many parents think they can shape their child into a particular kind of adult. Psychologist Alison Gopnik says the science suggests otherwise. A conversation with Gopnik, who thinks we’d all be better off if we had a different understanding of the relationship between parents and kids.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
Registration: Listen here


The Beginning of Life

Using breakthroughs in technology and neuroscience, this series available on Netflix, examines how environment affects infants – and how infants affect our future. Each of the six episodes is 45 minutes long.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationLearn more


KERA Think

KERA’s Think radio show features topics relevant to the work of Dallas CASA volunteer advocates from time to time. Recent show topics include:

Finding Purpose in Prison
How Society Fails Trans Kids
Redefining Autism and Who’s Left Out

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost


Launching Your Daughter

Launching Your Daughter podcast was created to support parents and caregivers in empowering their tween and teen girls as they prepare for young adulthood. Guests will be interviewed to discuss topics such as anxiety, perfectionism, depression, trauma, relationship struggles, budgeting time and money, nutrition and self-care. Conversations about mindfulness, self-compassion, mind, body and spirit connections, holistic and alternative approaches used in psychotherapy and counseling will also be explored.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
Registration: Listen here


Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse: A webinar with NCTSN

An hour and a half-long video on reducing the risk of child sexual abuse presented by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationListen here


Foster Care and One Caring Adult

A podcast featuring an interview with Josh Shipp, an author, global youth empowerment expert and acclaimed speaker. Josh is a former at-risk foster kid who “mastered the art of getting kicked out” of foster homes, he is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his ground-breaking work with teens. His new book, The Grown Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans, explores strategies for parents, educators and others working with teens.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationListen here


What is Complex Trauma or PTSD? How Does it Affect Your Child?

A podcast featuring Selma Bacevac, a parent-child relationship therapist. Ms. Bacevac talks about complex trauma/complex PTSD, what it is, what children experience it as and what type of behaviors we see in children who are experiencing complex trauma. I will also talk about what the best and appropriate ways are to get help and treatment for children who are experiencing complex trauma.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationListen here


TED Talk: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave

TED talk featuring Leslie Morgan Steiner telling the story of her abusive relationship, correcting misconceptions may people hold about victims of domestic violence and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
Registration: Listen here


TED Talk: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

What really causes addiction? How can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail first hand and began to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
Registration: Listen here


Podcast: Engaging Youth in Foster Care

As youth in care begin to develop their own sense of self and independence, you may experience difficulty engaging them to participate in their case plans or helping them realize the impacts their decisions may have on their long-term future.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Sexual Abuse and Maltreatment of Children

This course developed by the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center teaches individuals who work with children about the signs and symptoms of child abuse. Professionals will learn facts about child abuse, including the factors that indicate a child is at-risk and how to recognize physical and behavioral signs of the varying forms of child abuse.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Psychotropic Medication

This training explains Child Protective Services’ expectations for the safe and effective use of psychotropic medications by children in DFPS conservatorship. This training will help you to understand the expectations and policies regarding medications administered to children.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Texas Victim Assistance Training (TVAT)

This training will provide the necessary tools for providing consistent and appropriate services to crime victims and how to work collaboratively with partner agencies. You may log in and out at any time.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
Registration: Register here


National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Safety Training

With the school year upon us, it is a good time to read up on how to help prevent cyber bullying, sexting and other types of risky online behavior in children and teens. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has provided a website to help educate adults and children on these risks. You may count research as continuing education credit.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


National Children’s Advocacy Center Online Training

Previously recorded webinars that offer information pertaining to multiple aspects of CASA cases can be found on the National Children’s Advocacy Center website and can be viewed at any time with no cost. On their website, you will be directed to create a login account to access the webinars. Click here to view available webinars.


Building Trauma-Informed Services for Children, Youth, and Parents Impacted by Domestic Violence

This is a 10-part recorded webinar series that can be accessed at any time. Topics include: Children and Domestic Violence, Caring for Others While Caring for Ourselves, Children Grow in the Context of Their Relationships, Understanding Children’s Responses to DV and Other Trauma, Responding to the Needs of Children and Families Impacted by DV, Engaging and Supporting Parents

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Webinars from the National Center on Family Homelessness

  • Voices from the Field: Strategies for integrating domestic violence and homelessness services
  • Young Families: Risk and Protective Factors
  • Working with Young Homeless Families: Strategies to Foster Resiliency
  • Guidelines for Working with Young Homeless Families
  • Physical and Emotional Awareness for Children who are Homeless

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


Webinar Series: Trauma-Focused Interventions for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Although research on trauma-focused interventions continues to grow, there are still only a limited number of interventions designed specifically for responding to the traumatic effects of domestic and sexual violence. This webinar series was designed to highlight some of these emerging and evidence-based approaches.

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Survivors of Trauma: An Introduction
  • Beyond Trauma: A Healing Journey for Women
  • Beyond Anger and Violence: A Program for Women

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


“Faces of Human Trafficking” Video Series

The series is intended to be used for outreach and education efforts of service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and others in the community. The series includes information about sex and labor trafficking, multidisciplinary approaches to serving victims of human trafficking, effective victim services, victims’ legal needs, and voices of survivors.

When: Available anytime
Cost: No cost
RegistrationRegister here


TBRI® An Overview: Putting the Pieces Together

This short video explains the principles and concepts behind Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, a proven method for enriching the lives of at-risk, vulnerable children, adolescents, and their families. Trauma can impair language, sensory processing, and coping skills, and can lead to perplexing behaviors that are often mistaken for aggression or mental illness. This video features world-renowned experts who share research that documents how consistently positive experiences with loving caregivers can re-wire a child’s brain for lasting change.

Watch video: Click here
Where it can be found:  www.child.tcu.edu


Meth Addiction in Hawai’i – Podcast Series

A podcast series about meth addiction in Hawai’i that really puts a human face on the problem. The episodes range from 15-20 minutes each.  Listen to all four episodes and read the accompanying written material for a 2 hour continuing education credit. Individual segments can be listened to for a smaller CE credit.

Watch podcast: Click here
Where it can be found: Hawaii Public Radio


Promoting Family Health Through the Parent-Child Feeding Relationship

Unhealthy foods are readily available, cheaper than healthy alternatives, and advertised directly to children. Parents play an instrumental role in helping children navigate this unhealthy food environment. This presentation will discuss characteristics of children and parents that put some families at risk for eating challenges and how developing a positive parent-child feeding relationship benefits both parent and child. Dr. Doris Luft de Baker’s lecture is now available to view on the UT Dallas website.

Watch video: Click here
Where it can be found: UT Dallas Center for Children and Families


Recommended Films

Short Term 12

Short Term 12 delves into the lives of youth in a foster care facility for at-risk teens as told through the eyes of their supervisor, Grace.  The characters face similar struggles to many of the youth for whom CASA volunteers advocate.  One such teen is Marcus who will soon age out of the system and acts out in defiance because he is afraid to face the next chapter in his life.  There are many other parallels with the children CASA serves.  “One of the subtle beauties of Short Term 12 is the way it intimately depicts how the counselors find ways into these kids’ lives and connect with them.”  — Christy Lemire for RogerEbert.com. Short Term 12 won the 2013 SXSW Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.

Watch trailerClick here
Where it can be found: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes


Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter is based on a true story about a pregnant teenager who flees her abusive mother in search of her father, only to be rejected. She is forced to survive on the streets until a compassionate stranger offers a hopeful alternative. A powerful movie demonstrating the impact one person can make on a child or teen. Every child deserves the chance to turn their life around. Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, James Earle Jones and Brendan Fraser.

Watch trailer: Click here
Where it can be found: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Redbox, Google play


Recommended Reading

In addition to attending classes and online training, advocates are also able to read books related to the work we do to receive continuing education credit hours. Each 50 pages equals 1 CE hour.  For example, if you read a book that is 300 pages long, you will receive 6 hours of continuing education credit.

To view the current reading list click here. If you have titles you would like to suggest be added to the reading list please contact Leslie Ramirez.


Children’s Commission:  Parent Resource Guide

Have you wondered what the parents on your case go through or wanted to learn more about the CPS process? Imagine being scared, confused, embarrassed or angry and having to navigate the CPS and legal process. Take a glimpse into the role of a parent going through this process and receive 2.5 continuing education hours for self study.

Download Parent Resource GuideEnglish or Spanish


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