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Children removed from their homes and placed in foster care lose nearly everything they once called “theirs.” When these children exit foster care to their “forever homes,” whether through reunification with a parent/s, permanency with relatives and kin, adoption, or even when aging out successfully into their first independent living environment—Joan wanted them to receive a special gift—made exclusively for them.   


Joan set out to impact these children in a unique way. So, she started rehabbing old, dilapidated dressers and customizing them to make the children's dreams come true. Renovating dressers and donating them back to children who experienced foster care but were now entering their forever homes is a new passion apart from her CASA advocacy role. Learn more about Joan’s journey, CASA advocacy, the children served, and other child advocates in Misplaced Childhood.

Books on a Counter

RecommeNded ReadINg

These are books that I have read and found helpful as an advocate. Some have touched me profoundly and solidified my desire to add to the growing list of stories. Nothing is more urgent to me than serving children and spreading the word to recruit others to the CASA mission. Be sure to contact me and tell me what you are reading!

Experiences with CASA/GAL Advocacy:

  • Bryant, Yolanda. One Child at a Time: The Mission of a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA )

  • Courter, Gay. I Speak For This Child: True Stories of a Child Advocate 

  • Gharbo, Tracy, and Linda Palmer. Reshuffled: Real Stories of Hope and Resilience from Foster Care 

  • National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. Lighting the Way: Volunteer Child Advocates Speak Out 

  • National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. Someone There for Me: Everyday Heroes Through the Eyes of Tears in Foster Care 


Child Advocacy:

  • Wright, Amy Conley, and Kenneth J. Jaffe. Six Successful Steps to Successful Child Advocacy: Changing the World for Children 


Education Advocacy:

  • Rief, Sandra. The ADD/ADHD Checklist: An Easy Reference for Parents & Teachers 

  • Siegel, Lawrence M. The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child 

  • Wright, Pam, and Pete Wright. From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Kit 


Childhood Trauma or Foster Care:

  • Ambroz, David. A Place Called Home: A Memoir  

  • Bruno, Holly Elissa. Happiness is Running Through the Streets to Find You: Translating Trauma’s Harsh Legacy into Healing 

  • Chandler-Cole, Charity. Stranger Danger

  • Elliott, Andrea. Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City  

  • Flory, Tonya. Sliding into Home: Childhood Trauma and Foster Care Strengthens a Woman’s Resolve to Heal and Empower Others

  • Hope Peterson, Tori. Fostered 

  • Pelzer, Dave. A Child Called "It:" One Child's Courage to Survive

  • Rhodes-Courter, Ashley. Three Little Words 

  • Rhodes-Courter, Ashley. Three More Words 

  • Toth, Jennifer. Orphans of the Living: Stories of America’s Children in Foster Care 

  • Van der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma


Resources for Youth in Foster Care:

  • Jamison, Melynda Milburn. Oscar’s Family 

  • Keating, Danisha, Dr. From Foster to PhD: Letters From a Suitcase

  • Lindsey, Crystal. Grit & Gratitude: The Former Foster Youth’s Playbook for Adulting 

  • Mooney, Robert P.K. A Foster Kid’s Road to Success 

  • Nash, Patrick. Surviving the Teenage Heart Attack 

  • Russell, Nicole. Everything a Band-Aid Can’t Fix: A Teen’s Guide to Healing and Dealing with Life 

  • Starks, Adam, PhD. Love Makes the World Go ‘Round


Legal Advocacy:

  • Cobb, Sue Bell, and Bobby Cenegy. There Must Be a Witness: Stories of Abuse, Advocacy, and the Fight to Put Children First 

  • Ventrell, Marvin, and Patrick Furman. Trial Advocacy for the Child Welfare Lawyer 


Personal Growth or Inspiration:

  • Bradshaw, John. Healing the Shame that Binds You 

  • Callahan, Miriam. The H2O Workbook: A Biblical Path to Hope, Heal & Overcome for the Thirsty Soul 

  • Duckworth, Angela. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

  • Goggins, David. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds 

  • Johnson, Spencer. The Precious Present   

  • Mackesy, Charlie. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse 

  • McGraw, Robin. Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose 

  • Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

  • Mutabazi, Peter (With Mark Tabb). Now I am Known: How a Street Kid Turned Foster Dad Found Acceptance and True Worth

  • Oher, Michael. I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond 

  • Pelzer, Dave. Return to the River: Reflections on Life Choices During a Pandemic

  • Saathoff, Brent, Dr. Inner Strength: Healing the Core Issues That Can Change Your Life

  • Starks, Adam, PhD. Broken Child Mended Man: An Autobiography 

  • Young, Sarah. Jesus is Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

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