Our picks this month are diverse and shine a light on lesser told stories in the child welfare system and those experiencing poverty. The recommendations include a widely anticipated book, a short documentary film, and a new podcast. Whether you have time for a deep dive in expanding your knowledge of the topics that impact the children we serve at CASA or only have a short amount of time to dedicate to furthering your education, there are options for everyone!
Book Pick – Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliot
Journalist Andrea Elliot began her work in 2012 when she met eleven-year-old Dasani Coates and her family living in a New York City homeless shelter. What stemmed from that initial meeting was a five-part story highlighting Dasani and her family featured in the New York Times and eventually grew into this book released in October 2021. Elliot continued to follow Dasani and her family for eight years, documenting the harsh realities for children growing up in poverty as Dasani experienced heartbreaking tragedies and remarkable triumphs. Through Dasani’s empathetically told story, readers learn that resilience and hope can always be found, despite the harrowing experiences of American poverty.
Short Film Pick – What You’ll Remember by Elizabeth Herrera
Erika Cohn of the New York Times highlights this short documentary film in a recent op-ed that asks and answers the question – how do you raise a happy family when you are homeless? The film follows Elizabeth Herrera, David Lima, and their four children navigating homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area. The story told from couches, unsafe apartments, shelters, and their cars show how the Herrera/Lima family has crafted a loving home with each other without having stable and consistent housing. Elizabeth Herrera filmed all footage on her phone to capture the family’s happiest moments together. The documentary is carefully curated to show their greatest strengths and vulnerabilities as they face staggering income inequality and an unfair housing market. The film presents an overlooked facet of those facing housing insecurity and challenges viewers to question what does it take to make a home for a family.
Podcast Pick – Diaries of a Black Girl in Foster Care created by Tashia Roberson-Wing
This podcast is elevating crucial voices in the foster care community: that of black women who have lived through the child welfare system. Kaysie Gettie, Amnoni Myers, Alexandria Ware, and Angela Quijada-Banks join podcast creator Tashia Roberson-Wing to discuss the intersections of racial inequality, cultural disconnects, and stereotypes that have led to poor outcomes for Black girls in America’s foster care system. As quoted in The Imprint, Roberson-Wing says, “everybody can get something out of this, not just Black girls but the community that’s supposed to love them and protect them.” Their first episodes are streaming now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube and tackle the tough topics of safety in foster care, the “adultification” of Black girls in the system, and the lack of Black female leaders in our child welfare system. This series promises to be eye-opening and challenge us to better serve Black girls in our child welfare communities.