Resources for CASA of the Pines Volunteers


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.

Upon completion of any of these continuing education opportunities, don't forget to document in Optima or inform your casework supervisor.  CASA of the Pines hopes these resources help every CASA in their journey to providing advocacy to abused and neglected children.

Optima link & Forms
Continuing education links


  • Call the Texas Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-5400) if your situation is urgent and needs to be investigated within 24 hours.

  • Call 911 or your local law enforcement agency if you have an emergency or life-threatening situation that must be dealt with immediately

  • Complete forms online ***do not use the website to report urgent or emergency situations – call the hotline or 911***


Contact your Casework Supervisor if you need your account information and password.  Otherwise, click above on the link to begin your documentation process.  It is user-friendly and keeps you connected!

Click on the Optima Guide above if you need instructions on how to use Optima. 

If you ever need one on one help please feel free to contact the CASA of the Pines staff. We are always glad to walk you through the steps to help you learn how to better use the system. 


  • NetSmartz Internet Safety for kids


Screen time - How does it affect us?

In today's modern world of technology, it is important to consider the negative effects of extended screen time on the eyes, minds, and bodies of children. To educate the public on this, my vision recently published a guide to screen time for parents where they cover the following:

-Problems screens can cause
-How to develop screen time rules
-Suggested screen time limits by age
-Teaching and encouraging digital literacy, and more.

Please take a look:

The Texas CASA Learning Center is a great resource for CASA Advocates to get great information, continuing education opportunities, and much more.  Click on the image below to access. 


CASA on the Go: Continuing Education for CASA Volunteers

This continuing education podcast connects CASA volunteers with engaging and relevant training designed to help strengthen advocacy for children and families. Each short, dynamic episode features informative discussions with subject matter experts exploring topics connected to child welfare and practical tips for informed CASA advocacy. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speaker(s) in their personal capacity and are not the official policy or position of Texas CASA.


The Ride
After a violent, racially charged incident lands John in juvenile detention, he is finally placed with an unlikely set of foster parents, Eldridge and Marianna, an interracial couple. Eldridge makes it his mission to overcome the challenges of John’s white supremacist upbringing, slowly beginning to forge a relationship through his foster brother’s fascination with extreme sports and BMX biking. Rooted by this newfound passion, the family builds a bond of mutual respect, love and redemption.

Watch the trailer: Click here
Where it can be found: Amazon Prime

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 Short Term 12 won the 2013 SXSW Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.

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

This HBO documentary visits courtrooms, foster homes, juvenile centers, hospitals and the neighborhoods of Los Angeles to tell stories of the foster care system in the United States. One literally begins in the cradle, focusing on an infant born to a mother who tests positive for cocaine at the child’s birth.

Here is a link for more information

“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.

This Child Welfare Information Gateway site has a lot of podcasts that you can use for continuing education.  This one is about helping foster children that are expectant teens.  You can listen to these on Spotify and other sources. 


They are good because you can listen to them on road trips, cleaning house, etc.  A good activity to do while multitasking. :)

In this eye-opening talk about the impact of race and neighborhood on foster-care decisions, social worker Jessica Pryce shares a promising solution to help child welfare agencies make bias-free assessments about when to remove children from their families. "Let's work together to build a system that wants to make families stronger instead of pulling them apart," Pryce says.