May 2023 Staff Recommendations

Our May staff picks cover a wide variety of issues faced in child and family welfare, including helpful resources for National Foster Care Awareness.

Book Pick- Corrections in Ink: A Memoir by Keri Blakinger 

Critics commend Keri Blakinger for her brave memoir that follows her own personal journey from aspiring figure skater through her addiction and arrest, which ultimately becomes her inspiration as a reporter on the flawed prison system. GoodReads says, “Written with searing intensity, unflinching honesty, and shocks of humor, Corrections in Ink uncovers that dark, brutal system that affects us all. Not just a story about getting out and getting off drugs, this galvanizing memoir is about the power of second chances; about who our society throws away and who we allow to reach for redemption―and how they reach for it.” 

Online Resource Pick- Sesame Workshop: Foster Care 

Sesame Street Workshop and Sesame Street in Communities bring free video content and resources to help children and adults face difficult topics and reach their highest potential. During Foster Care Awareness Month, we encourage those who work with children to review the Sesame Street Workshop videos, worksheets, and resources aimed towards helping children cope with separation from their birth parents and placement in foster care. Watch your furry Muppet friends handle ups and downs as they help foster child Karli settle in with her “For Now Parents” and find her place in their home. 

Article Pick- If a Tree Falls Down by Beza Woche for the Youth Voices Rising Writing Contest 2023 

Former foster youth Beza Woche asks readers “If a tree falls down in the forest and nobody’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” but in her essay for the 2023 Youth Voices Rising Writing Contest, what she really wants to uncover is the disturbing trend of children crying out for help only to be labelled ‘false reporters’. Woche shares the details of her own time in and out of foster care after disclosing abuse in her seemingly normal and stable household. Instead of rigid policies that seem to hurt struggling youth and young adults, this essay calls for more inclusive programs that work with those aging out of foster care to help them build relationships and break the cycle in broken families.  

Book Pick- We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America by Roxana Asgarian 

When headlines nationwide shared the devastating news of a married couple who killed themselves and their six adopted children by driving their SUV off a cliff, journalist Roxanne Asgarian set out to learn more about each of the Hart’s adopted children, where they came from, and how the system had failed them. In her debut book “We Were Once a Family”, Asgarian describes a child welfare system in Texas that is quick to terminate birth parents’ rights, and in the case of the Hart family, gives adoptive parents the benefit of the doubt despite obvious danger. In seeking out the children’s birth families, the author puts them at the center of the story to uncover racial bias and corruption that affects the nation’s most vulnerable children. While the Harts story is one of extremes, Asgarian proves that it isn’t entirely unrepresentative of the current “family policing system” set in place for child welfare.