Our team at Henrico CASA loves to read… and there’s no better time to read than the summer! In upcoming weeks we’ll be highlighting some of our recent favorites in the hopes that you will enjoy the themes and connections to our work as child advocates.


In Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, Stephanie Land shares the story of how her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer quickly dissolved when a summer fling turned into an unplanned pregnancy. Before long, she found herself a single mother, scraping by as a housekeeper to make ends meet.

Maid tells the story of one woman’s hopes being dashed, though not forgotten. Stephanie made the decision to put her pride aside to do everything she could to make ends meet and achieve the best life for herself and her daughter. Though she encountered numerous obstacles along the way, including an abusive relationship with the father of her child, Stephanie rose above every challenge to achieve her dream of attending college and becoming a writer. It is a testament to the determination of one mother to not allow her circumstances at the moment to crush her spirit and determination for a better life!

I Recommend Because…

In our work as Court Appointed Special Advocates, we see many parents in similar situations, struggling to maneuver through the many requirements of the Courts. In addition, these parents may also struggle with providing adequate housing and food for their children. While we know it is difficult, Stephanie gives a better understanding of just how daunting the process can be, despite her best intentions.

Stephanie was fortunate to have a few government employees help her along the way; those who recognized that she was doing the best she could under trying circumstances. She also had some agency employees seemingly shame her for needing assistance at all. This helped me realize why some parents are hesitant to ask for help. The stigma attached to public welfare can be overwhelming.

As the saying goes, “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” We cannot assume that someone needing government assistance is simply lazy and unmotivated. As Stephanie shows, sometimes a person is working, providing for a child, yet still cannot survive above the poverty line. I hope this book can give others a better understanding of the real struggles of single parents (or anyone) when navigating the roads of public assistance in today’s world.

If you would be interested in learning more about how you can help children whose parents are facing challenges like those described in this book, we would love to tell you more about volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate!