When looking for adaptable, caring, and supportive volunteers, CASA won the lottery with Susan Hantz. A retired nursing professor, Susan has volunteered with CASA for three and a half years, serving six children across three different cases. Susan has served these children relentlessly as is exhibited by her time, attention to little details, and use of trauma focused care.
First step for Susan is to accept each case and each child as they are, recognizing that there is not a one size fits all approach to advocacy. With every case, there are various aspects working for or against families, such as socio-economic status, language barriers, or even lack of reliable transportation to court and visitations. Susan is committed to understanding individual family needs and helping them connect to community resources as they work toward reunification.
Make no mistake, Susan is 100% for the child. As an advocate, she has channeled her professional experience to fight for a child’s medical needs and has dedicated herself to driving to Little Rock every three weeks when one of her children was placed there. Despite all of her efforts, Susan says she remains within the role of an advocate, not a savior: “I am there to listen and not always fix. I am there to be a bridge of support for those in difficult times…bad things happen but people can change; second chances can happen for all of us.”
“Susan is truly a rock star advocate though she would never want the recognition,” shares her supervisor Shelley Hart. “Susan doesn’t advocate for notoriety but for the passion she has for the kiddos and families she works with. When they hurt, Susan hurts, but she stays the course and is sure they will all make it through to the other side.”
Special thanks to intern Layne Coleman for authoring this story.